Preserved Concord stagecoach in Wells Fargo livery
Postcoach or diligence in Switzerland
Behind time, anonymous engraving of a stagecoach in England

A stagecoach is a four-wheeled public coach used to carry paying passengers and light packages on journeys long enough to need a change of horses. It is strongly sprung and generally drawn by four horses.

Widely used before steam-powered rail transport was available a stagecoach made long scheduled trips using stage stations or posts where the stagecoach's horses would be replaced by fresh horses. The business of running stagecoaches or the act of journeying in them was known as staging.[1]

Originating in England, familiar images of the stagecoach are that of a Royal Mail coach passing through a turnpike gate, a Dickensian passenger coach covered in snow pulling up at a coaching inn, and a highwayman demanding a coach to "stand and deliver". The yard of ale drinking glass is associated by legend with stagecoach drivers, though it was mainly used for drinking feats and special toasts.[2][3]


The stagecoach was a closed four-wheeled vehicle drawn by horses or, on hard-going, mules. It was used as a public conveyance on an established route usually to a regular schedule. Its spent horses were replaced with fresh horses at stage stations (or posts or relays).

Wells Fargo mud-coach

A simplified and lightened form of stagecoach known as a stage wagon or mud-coach or mud-wagon was used in the United States under difficult conditions. These were the vehicles that opened up the new stage routes in America's West. In addition to the stage driver or coachman who guided the vehicle, a shotgun messenger armed with a coach gun might travel as a guard beside him.

A stagecoach traveled at an average speed of about five miles per hour, with the total daily mileage covered being around 60 or 70 miles.[4]


'Stage' originally referred to the distance between stage stations on a route but through metonymy it came to be applied to the stagecoach.

Other Languages
brezhoneg: Rederig
català: Diligència
čeština: Dostavník
Cymraeg: Coets fawr
dansk: Diligence
Deutsch: Postkutsche
Esperanto: Diliĝenco
فارسی: دلیجان
français: Diligence
Frysk: Postkoets
한국어: 역마차
עברית: דיליז'נס
kaszëbsczi: Diliżans
Nederlands: Postkoets
日本語: 駅馬車
norsk: Diligense
polski: Dyliżans
русский: Дилижанс
Simple English: Stagecoach
slovenščina: Diližansa
српски / srpski: Дилижанса
svenska: Diligens
Türkçe: Posta arabası
українська: Диліжанс
中文: 驿站马车
ГӀалгӀай: Дилижанс