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Old 01-12-2020, 10:11 AM
Location: Out West
23,739 posts, read 17,641,922 times
Reputation: 27825


Originally Posted by SunGrins View Post
You would not go across the Overland or Oregon trail in a flimsy horsedrawn carriage even if the road was paved. It took months. There would be hundreds of bridges to be built apart from the road. Then there was the pesky buffalos and the Indians. Blizzards in the winter. Steamboats could reach Fort Benton, Montana, up the Missouri River (in the proper season) but were still well east of the mountains. The transcontinental railroad was finished in 1869, thanks to the Chinese and Irish workers. It still took a week to go by train from Omaha to San Francisco - a major improvement over wagon trains.
Heck, just have them play that old game "The Oregon Trail" to learn why making it by horse and buggy or stagecoach was not safe.
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Old 01-12-2020, 06:52 PM
Location: Vallejo
14,765 posts, read 16,784,639 times
Reputation: 13371
Originally Posted by Pilot1 View Post
The automobile wasn't invented yet at the time the railroads traversed the U.S. and completed coast to coast rail travel in 1869. You either had to travel by horse, horse drawn wagon, or sailing ship in a long, circuitous route to get to either coast.
They did. First automobile was about one hundred years before the transcontinental railroad. Steam powered automobiles weren't exactly very useful, however.
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Old 01-16-2020, 04:13 AM
22,266 posts, read 15,037,779 times
Reputation: 15861
Originally Posted by victimofGM View Post
I know bus and train service still exist but no where near what they once were. I wasn’t around prior to the interstate highway system being built. Was the interstate highway system the development that hurt bus and train travel the most? I’ve traveled by bus once and it was fine for shorter routes if you didn’t have your own vehicle, unable to drive, don’t trust your vehicle for such a trip, or don’t want to put those miles on your vehicle. But for longer distances a bus takes far longer than if you drove yourself. I tried mapping out a trip by train and was surprised by how long the trip was going to take as well as how much it would cost compared to flying to the same destination. That brings up another factor. Did the lowering of cost of airline travel impact bus and train service more than interstate highways or were they equally hurtful to bus and train service?
In both instances above driving yourself in a motor vehicle allows you to set the pace, route, and timing. OTOH railroads and buses have schedules, union work rules (that mandate or limit how long a driver or crew can work), and so forth that often make what would seem to be a straight forward trip a long journey.

Deregulation of US airlines didn't affect bus travel at first much if at all. Plane ticket prices were still high in relation to a bus ticket well after 1978. Things began to change when low cost carriers (Southwest, People's Express, etc..." emerged on airline scene. Those low cost and "no frills" airlines shook things up for legacy carriers. It was now possible to fly to certain domestic destinations cheaper than taking the bus for some. Of course the truly poor or perhaps those who didn't live near airports likely kept using buses or trains.

OTOH long distance train travel in USA was killed when domestic airlines began flying jets instead of propeller planes. When you could get from Chicago, IL to Los Angeles, CA in three hours (by jet) instead of three days (train), that was a big deal.

First to go as it would be on other routes was the lucrative business traveler (on expense account or not), who valued time. Airlines created advertising geared towards the businessman show how their fast jets would get him to a distant destination quickly so he could close a deal. Meanwhile his poor sap competitor was stuck on some train in Podunk, USA miles away.

For all its frustrations if one has time and money a long distance train trip is one of the best ways to see this great nation of ours. So many Americans either don't travel far from where they were born or live, and or when they do it is by plane so they don't see anything.

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Old Today, 04:07 AM
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
10,663 posts, read 9,192,087 times
Reputation: 12519
What struck me most, as a boy who relied heavily upon trains to get from Boston to the North Shore of MA and Coastal NH, was how quickly this passenger train service disappeared completely in less than a year.
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