Isa's Blog - America 1854 - Trains
Lynn B. Connor - Adventures in History
American Cars [Trains]

American cars are so different from our English ones. I must tell you about them.

You enter the car at each end and there is an aisle down the middle - not a door for each row of seats. "There is a small saloon for ladies with babies at one end, and a filter containing a constant supply of iced water." Book, bonbon, and peach venders go through the cars.

"An emigrant-car is attached to each train, but there is only one class: thus it may happen that you have on one side the President of the Great Republic, and on the other the gentleman who blacked your shoes in the morning...this mingling of all ranks is far from being disagreeable..."

I saw and talked to many kinds of people. Heard humorous stories and conversations on politics. A Kentucky farmer with a Bowie knife pointed out things of interest. "Were it not for the disgusting practice of spitting upon the floors in which the lower classes of Americans indulge, I should greatly prefer them to our exclusive carriages."

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Fifteen years (1869) after Isa's visit to America the first Transcontintental Railroad was completed. However, it was necessary to get off the train at the Missouri River, take a ferry across, and then get on another train.

Before the Transcontinental Railroad, the time and cost of getting from New York to San Francisco in 1865 was several months and up to $1,000.

In 1870 tickets cost $136 for first class in a Pullman sleeping car ( when Isa traveled there was only one class); $110 for second class; $65 for third or "emigrant" class seats on a bench.
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LINK: what would the tickets would cost in today's dollars?