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Questions tagged [transportation]

Methods of moving people, goods or animals from one place to another, usually on large distance.

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60 votes
9 answers
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Why are so many metros underground? Isn't that more expensive than an elevated system?

Starting with the London Underground in 1863, why are so many metros/subways built underground (as opposed to en elevated metro)? This requires a lot of digging and excavation, which to me seems a lot ...
DrZ214's user avatar
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45 votes
5 answers
15k views

How did passengers keep warm on sail ships?

Trans-Atlantic passenger travel was not very popular until the advent of the steamer, and yet men and women crossed the ocean periodically, including the affluent. From what I've been able to gather,...
Ricky's user avatar
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41 votes
5 answers
22k views

What did Germany do in World War II about the different rail gauge in the Soviet Union?

One reason it was so hard for Germany to invade Russia/the Soviet Union in World War II (and I) was because the Russians had a different (wider) railroad gauge than that of most of the rest of Europe, ...
Tom Au's user avatar
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38 votes
8 answers
10k views

Did a significant number of women drive in late 1950s/1960s USA?

During lockdown, I have become addicted to old 1950s/60s Perry Mason series. I am struck by the number of women, from all walks of life - waitresses to wealthy matrons - who owned and drove their own ...
TheHonRose's user avatar
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38 votes
3 answers
16k views

No speed limit on German highways - why?

I wonder what are the historical circumstances that led to lack of speed limit on German federal Autobahn network. There is an advisory 130 km/h limit, but it is not mandatory one nor obeyed ...
kubanczyk's user avatar
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37 votes
3 answers
16k views

Transatlantic Zeppelin trips usually took > 100 hours. How did they stock enough food, and where did they sleep?

I never fail to be bewildered with the Zeppelins. Apart from the arduous and boring journey - how did the passengers rest - I don't see pics of any rooms or beds - how did they sleep at all? ...
killjoy's user avatar
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37 votes
7 answers
10k views

What's the rationale for shipping coins back to Spain from its colonies?

Since the days of Pirates! the thought of capturing the Spanish treasure fleet on its way back somewhere in the Spanish Main was a primary target because of all the gold and silver it transported to ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
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36 votes
2 answers
5k views

Were there any drunk driving laws before the automobile?

I was wondering if before the automobile some places it was illegal to drive a carriage drunk? The first law in the USA against drunk driving was 1910 in Massachusetts. But I don't know if there are ...
OmamArmy's user avatar
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33 votes
3 answers
8k views

How did people deal with ice on the roads during the horse-and-buggy era?

Before there were cars, people traveled in a horse-drawn carriage, sometimes over cobble-stone covered roads. Back in those days, was anything done to keep the traveled roads free from ice or snow? ...
user avatar
30 votes
2 answers
6k views

Why did early attempts to transport milk to London by rail meet with 'much criticism'?

According to the Wikipedia article on milk (referring to transporting milk to London by rail), The Great Western Railway was an early and enthusiastic adopter, and began to transport milk into ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
28 votes
2 answers
2k views

When did Americans become safe from highway robbery?

The other day a friend and I were reconciling our memories of "shotgun" rules, the customs by which American teenagers determine who sits in the front passenger seat of a car. The concept derives from ...
Christopher's user avatar
25 votes
2 answers
5k views

What is the oldest road tunnel in the world?

At the Furlo Pass in the Apennines, the Via Flaminia passes through a tunnel built in 76 - 77 AD during the time of Emperor Vespasian, replacing an earlier tunnel. The tunnel built during the time of ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
24 votes
5 answers
9k views

Was public transportation free in the Soviet Union?

Was public transportation free in the Soviet Union? I'm interested in the metros and buses. If not, what did they cost? I'm most interested in the period around the late 1950's, early 1960's, but it ...
DrZ214's user avatar
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20 votes
1 answer
3k views

Did a fallen-out red signal lens ever cause a railway accident?

The Straight Dope (Cecil Adams, 1986) writes: When the first primitive railroad signaling devices were developed in the 1830s and 1840s, red meant “stop,” green meant “caution,” and clear (i.e., ...
Quuxplusone's user avatar
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16 votes
3 answers
6k views

When did streets get names?

Some intercity roads and highways have names (eg. the King's Highway in the Bible and the Appian Way in Rome) and others are named after the place that they go to (Jaffa road in Jerusalem). When did ...
Clint Eastwood's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
18k views

When did covered wagons disappear from America?

Throughout 19th century Americans migrated west to settle land and most such trips were on foot and on covered wagons. With the arrival of trains the wagons stopped, but my guess is that not everyone ...
Safa Alai's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
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Why did Chicago and other cities choose an L (elevated metro) when most others chose underground subways?

From my related question, I'm trying to understand the decision-making that went into metro/subway design. Why did Chicago choose an elevated metro system instead of an underground subway? Most other ...
DrZ214's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
1k views

When and where was the first time moveable bridge?

Transportation of goods on rivers have been important throughout history, all the way back to the earliest civilization in Mesopotamia, the Indus valley, Egypt, China and more (this might not be the ...
Nikolaj's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
559 views

How long was a journey "from the Varangians to the Greeks?"

Textbooks about Russian history often discuss the importance of trade routes "from the Varangians to the Greeks," which allowed ships to pass from the Baltic to the Black Sea using a network of ...
Alex P's user avatar
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12 votes
3 answers
969 views

WWII boat-looking bus

What was the purpose of this WWII boat-looking bus? Description says: Royal Navy officers 'aboard' 'HMS SPURIOUS MARK II' - a bus converted to resemble the island of an aircraft carrier. The bus ...
nic's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
11k views

When did the last (non-tourist) commercial stagecoach line run in the USA?

Stagecoach at Holladay Express Office, Boise City, Idaho, circa mid-1860s. Source: A Stamp a Day- National Stamp Collecting Month: The Mail Coach Background Across from my office is a small Wells ...
Kerry L's user avatar
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11 votes
4 answers
2k views

In the Soviet Union, how was payment enforced for public transportation?

From my previous, related question, public transport was not free in the USSR. It seems prices were very low, around 3 to 5 kopecks. This seems so low that I'm surprised the government didn't simply ...
DrZ214's user avatar
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11 votes
3 answers
723 views

Was there ever a single train that ran straight from San Francisco to New York City, or any that ran truly from coast to coast?

Though the first Transcontinental Railroad was finished in 1869, the Overland Route seems to have only taken passengers between San Francisco and Council Bluffs, Iowa / Omaha, Nebraska via the ...
Louis's user avatar
  • 111
11 votes
2 answers
3k views

When did the Taxi become associated with the checkered pattern?

Taxi cabs tend to be linked to various colors or symbols, one I have noticed repeated over and over is the checkered pattern of alternating white and black. Is there an origin of this and how it ...
MichaelF's user avatar
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11 votes
3 answers
1k views

How did they measure speed in the 19th century so they could issue the first speeding ticket?

The first speeding ticket was issued in UK. In 1896 a person was caught driving 13 kilometers per hour in a zone where the maximum limit was 3km/h. Without a portable radar speed gun (also radar gun ...
Jimmy1996's user avatar
  • 113
11 votes
1 answer
441 views

Was red associated with "stop" or "danger" before railroads?

The automobile street signal colors of red and green were adopted because those colors were already in use by the railroads. Was the color red associated with "stop" before railroads? Was it ever ...
Amorphous Blob's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
579 views

Is there evidence that working for the Pony Express was dangerous, or not dangerous?

So I was thinking about what it was like working for the Pony Express and I am wondering was it an extremely dangerous job? I'm thinking that given the success of the Pony Express it must not have ...
ihtkwot's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
416 views

Where does the concept of traffic keeping to the "right" side of the street originate?

In any nation that has cars, there are well-understood rules about how to operate them. If a road is shared by traffic going both ways, everyone will, by law and convention, stick to either the right ...
Mason Wheeler's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
306 views

When were public roads cleaned electromagnetically?

In the first half of the 20th century, tires were more often punctured, so metal waste on the roadway was a bigger problem. The book "Lorries, Trucks and Vans 1897-1927" features an electromagnetic ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
4k views

How did the Romans build straight roads that stretched very long distances?

I once read that the Romans were masters of building roads that stretched long distances in a straight line like the Fosse Way road in Britain. I never thought much of it until I watched Canada & ...
Caesar's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
2k views

Which company offered this aircraft interior in the 60s?

I found this image on LinkedIn post. This was economy class back in the 1960s. [...] I'm not sure whether it's fake or not. Was there a company that offered this aircraft interior in the 60s? If ...
J. Doe's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
725 views

Couldn't Japan have solved the problem of drifting at sea?

The Edo period shogunate received annual tributes from local clans, on the order of the rice to feed a thousand people. The sengokubune ships used on this route were suited for calm inland waters, ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
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10 votes
3 answers
1k views

Is there any overland route to Kamchatka?

The port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky was founded and visited by sailing ships. Even today no road connects it to the network of the rest of Russia -- it is reputed to be the second largest ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
3k views

What's the origin of valet parking?

Seems that every single place I go nowadays, they have valet parking: restaurants, bars, airports, etc. The other day I got to think about this dreadful service (I have enough skills to park my own ...
Osvaldo Mercado's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
2k views

Were bicycles widespread in the Soviet Union?

In the Soviet Union, did most people own a bicycle? Were streets crowded with bikes? Or was there a shortage of bikes? What was the price of bikes and were they affordable? The time period I'm most ...
DrZ214's user avatar
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9 votes
4 answers
3k views

When did leaf springs appear in vehicles?

Passenger vehicles require suspensions for ride comfort. Most today use helical springs, but leaf springs were at one time a major advance over chain or leather strap suspensions, and are still used ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
396 views

Has any place exhumed more dead bodies than San Francisco?

San Francisco's cemeteries of the 1800s relied upon burial fees for maintenance, and so fell into disrepair when they filled up. Simultaneously, land became more expensive and public health fears ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
13k views

How long would a letter take to arrive in England from America in 1890?

As part of my story, a letter is sent from England to America in 1890. I was wondering if there was a way to work out how long it would take and perhaps the cost of writing and sending letters.
Rachel's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
1k views

Where was the first European electric tramway operated?

Many sources agree that the tramway Vevey-Montreux-Chillon, built in 1888 was Switzerland's first and Europe's second electric tramway. However, sources are contradictory on which was the first ...
Bregalad's user avatar
  • 5,316
8 votes
1 answer
6k views

How did the "Forty Niners" get to California in 1849?

How did the "Forty Niners" get to California in 1849? In 1849, the Panama Canal would not have been built for over 50 years, meaning that ships from the U.S. east coast would have had to sail all the ...
Tom Au's user avatar
  • 104k
8 votes
1 answer
853 views

How did people 'park' their horse and buggy in early 20th century cities? How was theft prevented?

I am writing a story that is set in Philadelphia 1904. The protagonist of the story travels to a part of town near a church, parks his horse and buggy, and walks a couple of blocks to visit a brothel. ...
david's user avatar
  • 345
8 votes
2 answers
1k views

What demographic of people were the Ford Motor's Company biggest customers during the car boom of the early twentieth Century?

Who were the primary customers buying up the automobiles steadily decreasing in cost during the 20th century? Was it rural people replacing horses with vehicles? Would it have been inner city people ...
JKhawaja's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
124 views

Date of Transatlantic crossing postcard

I found this postcard in several shops in Lisbon, Portugal. It depicts the transatlantic voyage from Lisbon to several locations in North and South America. I wonder at what time this kind of ...
Stockfisch's user avatar
7 votes
5 answers
9k views

What is the oldest road in the world that has been in continuous use?

My suspicions are that a road in Rome, Italy, likely has a strong claim, or perhaps a road in Egypt. It just needs to be a road that has been in continuous use for traffic, whether it was some form of ...
ihtkwot's user avatar
  • 9,685
7 votes
3 answers
17k views

Did Native-Americans Have Horses? [closed]

So I was reading my history text, and it states that horses were likely hunted to extinction in North America. However, many movies and books display Native-Americans as in-tune-with-nature horse-...
Socratic Phoenix's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

In 18th century America, how did people board ships to travel long distance?

This is a continuation of this question I asked earlier. According to the answers I got from the question, a better way for my character to travel is by ship, as quoted from user Mark Johnson: Taking ...
Twinkling Star's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
232 views

Where was the Buenos Aires - Lima Spanish Royal Road?

the Royal Road was a designation assigned to any road administered by the Spanish Crown, including through its viceroys. During the Spanish Empire, several such roads ran through the expanses of ...
Ricky Youssef's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
496 views

Reconstructing historic tide tables

I'm researching an event which occurred between mid-1794 and early 1796, but probably 1795; the even happened at a major English port with American shipping and a Royal Navy ship repair yard. I ...
Peter Diehr's user avatar
  • 6,759
6 votes
2 answers
864 views

Origin of left and right-hand road traffic rules, respectively [closed]

Some countries we drive on the left; some countries we drive on the right. What is the origin of each style?
LateralFractal's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why did the USSR switch from 1524 mm gauge to 1520 mm gauge in the late 1960's?

This article mentions that Russia started with a 1,524 mm rail gauge, and in the sixties and seventies, switched to a 1,520 mm rail gauge with tighter tolerances. Why do this? If you want tighter ...
DrZ214's user avatar
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