Riding the Rails

Photo 60744745 / Victorian Train © Zastavkin | Dreamstime.com

I was looking up train travel in the mid to late 1800’s for the part of The Magpie Madam stories I’m working on, and of course I came across some photos of the passenger cars that used to be available for travelers. They were so posh, so elaborately decorated and I can just imagine myself sitting there in my buttoned up and proper skirt-suit, fancy hat and gloves, watching all the other well-dressed people coming in and finding their seats and chattering amicably amongst themselves.

By all accounts, as buttoned-up as the Victorians were, they were also a pretty lewd society. That makes sense, I think, considering the more you make something taboo, the more people want to (and often will) indulge. Humans are fun (and predictable) like that.

Which makes me wonder: did they have a sort of “mile-high” club for train travel? I’m not sure what that would be called, exactly. Something with “train” or “rails” or “chugga-chugga”, undoubtedly. Though I guess since sleeper cars were a very normal part of travel, it wouldn’t be the same as having to squeeze into a tiny airplane bathroom. I’m still not exactly sure how people do that, honestly. But I’m a lot less flexible now than I was when I was younger.

In any case, I wish someone would recreate some of those luxurious rail cars they used to have, so we could do cross-country tours in style again. Not only would it be comfortable, it would be classy & romantic.

Now I have a bit more research to do on women’s skirts/dresses in that time period. I *think* there were commonly slits in the sides of a skirt where a woman could access the pockets worn underneath, but not actually attached to her clothing. If so…well, that would be helpful in certain situations….

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