The infusion of industrial capital from outside the state reinforced the classical coreperiphery model of development. When the railroads came, they hauled natural resources from the periphery to the economy's core urban centers, where they were processed into finished products. The large lumber mills built close to the cutting edge of the forest only increased the efficiency of capitalist expansion. Because the railroads carried raw materials to destinations outside the region, economic links were stronger between mill towns and urban destinations than between West Virginia towns. Instead, railroads led to a dispersed "corridor" development along the mountain valleys and stimulated the convergence of technology, heavy transportation facilities, natural resources, and the national markets. Mountain mill towns became processing outposts of the expanding capitalist economy.
A high degree of economic interdependency existed between the railroads and all lumber operations, but this was particularly the case with large mills. Railroads sought the assurance of a high volume of a high business to justify