is a type of horse
-drawn passenger and/or mail coach
, widely-used before the introduction of rail and road transport
. A stagecoach would stop periodically at so-called staging posts to take on fresh horses, exchange mail, and to give the passengers and crew food and rest stops.
Today the most familiar image of the stagecoach is in western movies, but they were also used throughout eastern North America and Europe until they were rendered obsolete by faster means of transport, principally the railroad / railway.
A constant danger for stagecoach travellers was the threat of robbery by highwaymen or bandits.
Stagecoach is also the name of a British transport company which operates several bus and rail franchises, and has faced some criticism over its alleged use of anti-competetive practices.