The railroad quickly became a vital part of 19th-century American life. Everyone from immigrant travelers to wealthy women on holiday depended upon its service. This widespread accessibility amplified perceived differences among travelers as people with diverse needs, expectations, and customs shared this new intimate public space on the rails. The evolution of 19th-century railroad passenger cars, from design and decor to the physical placement on trains, reflected prevailing notions of luxury, comfort, and social order.
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