Pneumatic subway NYC

The Rise and Demise of New York City’s First Subway: Cameron on Transportation

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A secret project, defying the government, helped build America’s first subway. It only ran for three years but carried hundreds of thousands of passengers, even though it only spanned 312 feet. And it was powered by air. In the 1860s, New York City was in a transportation crisis. The streets were jammed with horse-pulled trolleys and wagons, as many as 1,000 an hour passing a single point on lower Broadway.