Its phenomenal success did not go unnoticed by Cornelius "the Commodore" Vanderbilt. In his late sixties, when most men retire, he methodically started acquiring railroads in the New York City and Hudson River region. He then acquired the New York Central and merged it with his Hudson River Railroad. The Commodore and his son William, the foremost rail barons of their age, forged ahead with one of the most dynamic future-directed endeavors in the world-a railroad empire that traversed 11 states and 2 Canadian provinces.
Cornelius Vanderbilt founded a transportation empire based on steam and launched a family dynasty that became synonymous with extreme wealth. Railroads became the fastest transportation for people and the most economical for goods during the 19th century.