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Off we’re gonna shuffle Shuffle off to Buffalo For a little silver quarter You can have the Pullman porter Turn the lights down low Off we’re gonna shuffle Shuffle off to Buffalo It was in the 1940s that long-distance travellers, particularly in America, last accepted the communality of a Pullman sleeping berth, before the compelling grip of private automobile space entirely took over their concept of overland travel. Before jet airliners first completed the transcontinental journey in five hours, and the car provided independence and solitude on shorter journeys, the curtained sleeping berth offered simple comforts at the expense of insulation from other people.

The catalogue of the Great Exhibition held in London in 1851 shows ‘a sleigh of elegant proportions’ manufactured by J. J. Saurin of Quebec. The catalogue entry attempts to put this exotic vehicle into its regional context: ‘Sleighing’, as it is termed, forms one of the principal amusements of the Canadians of all ranks who can afford to keep one of any description, and the wealthier part of the community exhibit no little taste, and spare no expense, to put their carriage and all its appointments into suitable condition.

Although these survive in some cities, their importance as mass transporters had ended by about 1950. Urban travellers requiring greater privacy and speed had the option, from the mid-nineteenth century, of hailing a cab. Among the first was a type of four-wheel cab, commonly known as a growler, which could accommodate parties of up to four. But for a more intimate and faster 2 8 | Tra n s p o r t D e s i g n : A Tra ve l H i s t o r y This hansom cab, which was used by the architect Sir Charles Barry, boasted fully glazed passenger doors.

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