Cornelius Vanderbilt is the man who is standing on the railroad tracks. Vanderbilt was on the board of directors for railroads including Eerie Railway, the New Jersey Central, the New Haven, the Hartford, the New York, and the Harlem.
New York Central Railroad used to be in control by Erastus Corning from, but
Cornelius Vanderbilt took over the railroad. Erastus Corning is probably the head on the left side of the picture.
Jay Gould owned stock in the Union Pacific and is the head on the right side facing the picture.
Railroads charged high prices because they were monopolies.
Jay Cooke and Company invested too much money in railroads and caused the Panic of 1873, which was an economic recession.