Ups And Downs Of Post Cart Travel


Post cart travel had little to recommend it according to John Widdicombe, a mid-nineteenth century traveler.  He described the carts as looking like a square water tank with rails on two wheels. “The mailman stored mailbags inside the tank and, when it was full, tied extra bags on top.  The carts, which were not covered, were designed to carry three passengers.  One sat next to the driver and two sat back to back with them their feet on the tailboard. The roads were poor, horses untrained and many drivers unskilled. Except for a short stop now and then for a hasty meal at a farm or wayside inn, the coaches drove on relentlessly.  Passengers got no rest.  They constantly had to be on their guard against dozing off and falling from the cart.  It was dangerous to tie oneself to the rail as there was a very good chance of being crushed to death if the vehicle overturned, which they frequently did,” said Widdicombe.


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