Does anyone know a good source, hopefully a personal diary or some such, describing rail travel in the USA in the 1880s? I've found a few sources from as early as 1850, but nothing much for the 1880's. I've got no END of stuff relating to track-building, locomotives, etc, but very little about what travel was actually like for the passenger. Specific questions: Could you buy tickets that covered a specific period, but did not tie you to specific dates? If you were making a long-distance journey and had to change rail companies, how was this handled? Did you buy one 'through' ticket, or did you need to buy a whole fistful of them? If you were in a sleeper car, how in HECK did you get up to the top bunk? Amazing how little there is about the mechanics of this, and yet it must have been very important. Did you have to clamber up and down the armrests of the seat below? If ladders or steps were used (and they never show them in pictures) were they removed during the night? If so, how did you get down? Such basic information, and SO hard to come by! How long did it take to cross the USA by train in 1885-86? Especially, using the Northern Pacific, through to New England. There would have been at least 3 changes needing to be made ...from St Paul to Chicago, from Chicago to Buffalo (or thereabouts) and then from Buffalo to Boston or whatever. I can NOT find a readable timetable for that period online. VERY frustrating! Lots of timetables for much later, 1920's etc, but of course the trains were different then, and so were the connections. I know these are specific questions of limited use to most other writers on this forum, but I'm stumped. About 14 new books on my shelves and hours and HOURS of scouring the internet, and I'm still stumped! Fed up writing to rail enthusiast groups, because they either don't reply, or don't know. They're most all interested in the locomotives and/or the financial dealings that built the railroads. Nothing much about what it was like to actually be a passenger. Either that, or I've yet to strike the Mother Lode.