Train tracks covered eastern europe by 1900, and the steamship
companies often sold "package deals" which included the train ticket
to the port. The steamship companies developed local networks of
agents in all the eastern european cities and many of the shtetls.
I would recommend Irving Howe's book "The World of Our Fathers" in
which he described the four main routes: He also claimed that it took
2-4 days to journey >from a shtetl in the Pale to the ports.
Just a reminder that immigrants needed only a ticket; most immigrants
traveled without official paperwork (with the exception of the Russian
requirements for men to have completed military service).
In summary it was fairly easy to travel >from an obscure European
village to the US by the late 19th century.
This is a interesting subject and will be covered in depth in my
presentation on The Immigrant Voyage, at the New York JGS on October
Phyllis Kramer, NYC & Palm Beach Gardens, Fla
VP, Education, www.JewishGen.org/education