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Old 02-08-2017, 11:03 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is online now
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
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Chimera's quotes are accurate, but they emphasize problems rather than ordinary day-to-day travel.

Steamboats absolutely did explode or hit debris or run aground or otherwise damaged themselves, but even if they lasted only three years, then that's presumably three years of carrying passengers without their going to fiery or watery graves. Statistically, that means that the overwhelming majority of travelers arrived safely.

People in 1857 understood that long-distance travel had multiple dangers, but they weren't completely stupid or utterly reckless, any more than people of 1957 were when almost 40,000 of them were killed in automobile accidents. Any individual traveler could have bad luck but almost everybody survived or else they would find alternate means of travel.

Oh, and bandits attacking steamboats were rare. They could hardly do so unless the boat were docked. There weren't many pirates plying the Mississippi to board paddle-wheelers mid-river. Trains in the west did face more dangers, because they could so easily be derailed or blocked. They did at times carry armed men, but mostly to protect gold shipments rather than passengers. Even so, almost all trains ventured from station to station without incident. We only remember the few exceptions. And those were from post-Civil War days, since the number of trains crossing the west were minimal until then.