Sarah K (tears_of_nienna) wrote in little_details,
Sarah K

Transcontinental Railroad Travel, 1872

I have a character who needs to get from St. Louis to Cheyenne (and back, and then back to Cheyenne again later on in the story), and I am trying to figure out the details of the journey.

How long would a railroad-based trip from St. Louis to Cheyenne take in 1872?

I'm assuming he'll take the Missouri Pacific Railway across Missouri itself, then head up the Missouri River via steamer or stage to Omaha--I can't find information on whether the two lines connected in at that time.

Once he gets to Cheyenne, how long would it be before an eastbound train returned to pick him up?

The schedules I've found say that some trains run "daily," but that specific journeys take up to five days, which seems potentially disastrous on a single-track railway.

In my Google adventures, I did find a couple of train timetables, but therein lies another problem: I have no idea how one reads a nineteenth-century train timetable. There's a fantastic high-resolution one here if you zoom, but again, I have no idea what any of it means. By my guesswork, it looks like a route from Omaha to Cheyenne might take a little over a day and a half. Is that right?
Tags: 1870-1879, usa: history: old west, ~travel: ground & rail

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