Refining Travel: Railroads and Extra-Fare Cars, 1850–1915

Catherine Cocks

in Doing the Town

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780520227460
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520926493 | DOI:
Refining Travel: Railroads and Extra-Fare Cars, 1850–1915

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This chapter discusses the transformation of railroads, luxury-car manufacturers, and tour companies from “a horrible thing to think of” into a genteel fantasy. Railroads, as well as hotels and tour companies, often referred to their customers as the “traveling public” and cast themselves as servants of that public, yet they were thoroughly commercial enterprises. As public carriers, they confronted many of the same problems with the character and uses of public space that occurred in cities. Improved traveling accommodations and the vigorous publicizing helped stimulate a desire to travel among a broadening range of middling Americans. Refinement had promised transparent, trustworthy relations among self-possessed strangers. The new ideal of efficiency promised an urban, cosmopolitan anonymity that would open public spaces to a wider range of Americans.

Keywords: railroads; luxury-car manufacturers; tour companies; traveling public; Americans

Chapter.  11070 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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