Before cars became widespread, how frequent was long-distance land travel in the US by something other than trains/rail?

Jun 2017
734
maine
You asked why the population is greater in southern New England and I replied that I thought it was because of the northward movement which pretty much stopped in southern New England. Then I remembered the French-Canadians who came from the NORTH--but still went mainly to southern New England.
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,981
Dispargum
Why didn't they travel by rail? No railroads in this area?
Railroads didn't service all of the small towns. If you travel by rail you don't have any transport out from the big towns to the smaller towns.

A previous poster said that rail travel was cheaper than horse or wagon. That was probably true if one was hiring the horse and wagon. If one already had the horse and wagon, then the only cost of travel was the horse feed, assuming you'd be paying to feed yourself whether you traveled by road or rail. It's probably similar to why modern day traveling road shows like musical bands sometimes choose to travel by tour bus. Once the bus is paid for, it's cheaper than constantly buying plane tickets, especially if you travel with a lot of equipment or creature comforts.
 

Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
5,087
Iowa USA
Railroads didn't service all of the small towns. If you travel by rail you don't have any transport out from the big towns to the smaller towns.

A previous poster said that rail travel was cheaper than horse or wagon. That was probably true if one was hiring the horse and wagon. If one already had the horse and wagon, then the only cost of travel was the horse feed, assuming you'd be paying to feed yourself whether you traveled by road or rail. It's probably similar to why modern day traveling road shows like musical bands sometimes choose to travel by tour bus. Once the bus is paid for, it's cheaper than constantly buying plane tickets, especially if you travel with a lot of equipment or creature comforts.
The context of Futurist's OP seemed to refer to a "special occasion" travel rather than travel that was part of earning a living, such as the itinerant preacher.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,513
SoCal
You asked why the population is greater in southern New England and I replied that I thought it was because of the northward movement which pretty much stopped in southern New England. Then I remembered the French-Canadians who came from the NORTH--but still went mainly to southern New England.
Yeah, I just didn't get why you yourself moved further north from Boston (southern New England) to Maine (northern New England).

Railroads didn't service all of the small towns. If you travel by rail you don't have any transport out from the big towns to the smaller towns.

A previous poster said that rail travel was cheaper than horse or wagon. That was probably true if one was hiring the horse and wagon. If one already had the horse and wagon, then the only cost of travel was the horse feed, assuming you'd be paying to feed yourself whether you traveled by road or rail. It's probably similar to why modern day traveling road shows like musical bands sometimes choose to travel by tour bus. Once the bus is paid for, it's cheaper than constantly buying plane tickets, especially if you travel with a lot of equipment or creature comforts.
Makes sense.

The context of Futurist's OP seemed to refer to a "special occasion" travel rather than travel that was part of earning a living, such as the itinerant preacher.
Yeah, like travelling for a long vacation. :)
 
Jun 2017
734
maine
Lucky in what sense?
Maine is a pretty terrific place to be living. It has a deep and interesting history, it has an awareness of its heritage, it has some excellent academic institutions which share intellectually & culturally, it is a very beautiful place--and, MOST IMPORTANT, is populated by some pretty nice people!
 
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