Tuesday, January 22, 2008

All Aboard!

So I'm revising my first chapter of my new YA so that it's a little less craptastic, when I realized that I knew nothing about train travel in the late 19th century.


1) What was the name of the train station in Philadelphia? Now it's 30th Street Station but that wasn't built until 1934.

2) How long would it take to get from Philadelphia to New York and then on to upstate New York like Poughkeepsie?

3) How much did a train ticket cost? First class or steerage? What would it have been called if you didn't travel first class?

4) Did they still have Ladie's cars? I read in Writer's Digest research volume Everyday Life in the 1800's that they used to have Ladie's cars on trains where women could go to escape from men who might be flirting or harassing them. Since my main character is traveling to college by herself, she would need to sit in the Ladie's car if it sill exists.

5) Was the train segregated? I know that it would have been in the South but what about a Northern train?

6) The workers on a train, black, white both? I know that porters on Pullman cars were African-American but were their porters on other trains that were black?

That's pretty much it. I found a rail lovers forum which I'm hoping can answer my questions, or I might have to go to the New York transit museum and hope for the best.

All this just for the first chapter! Kind of boggles the mind what other stuff I need to know!



Maureen McGowan said...

You've just reminded me why I don't write historicals. :-) Even so... I always end up needing to do research of some kind for every book. In my new WIP thus far, I've been researching things as diverse as: how long does it take to climb El Capitan in Yosemite? And what other religions have stories similar to Sodom and Gomorrah?

Although I kind of like doing research in theory... Liked that kind of thing at school, when I'm writing I always just want to get on with it. I get very impatient when I'm missing details I need in order to move forward. (some I find I can leave, others not so much)

I'm sure you'll find a source to discover all these details and some you haven't even thought of yet that will make the authenticity of your chapter amazing.

Fabulous photo!

Tony Stringfield said...

I have no earthly idea, just assumptions, however, I read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and it gave a lot of insight into trains. Her main character, Dafney Taggert, reveals some interesting details. Have you read the book?


Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

No I haven't. Ayn Rand is one of those authors that I keep meaning to read.