(Im)measurable transport history
An imperial railway failure: the Indochina-Yunnan railway, 1898-1941
|The Journal of Transport History
No 1, 2014
Imperial railway projects emphasised military, geopolitical and economic objectives but often failed to achieve their planned outcomes. This article addresses this gap in the case of the French-built Indochina–Yunnan railway project. It introduces the doubts the railway project raised and the challenges associated with building it. The article demonstrates that the railway’s contribution to securing France’s power in Indochina and its economic impacts pale in comparison with the bottomless money pit it had become by the time Japanese occupation troops bombarded sections of the line in 1940.
David M. Williams and John Armstrong
‘One of the noblest inventions of the age’: British steamboat numbers, diffusion, services and public reception, 1812 – c.1823
The operation of the Comet
, Britain’s first commercial steamboat, on the Clyde in 1812 led to a period of rapid steamboat development. Drawing on little utilised sources, this study examines the impact of the steamboat in its first decade. Diffusion was rapid and relatively nationwide embracing river, coastal and short sea services. The impact in terms of services, mostly passenger orientated (but also including towage), was considerable and contributed to a new, popular appreciation of steam technology and changes in lifestyles. How the press and government responded to this new technological advance is also considered. A brief conclusion points to the special nature of the steamboat’s immediate impact in a wider context.
Jeffry M. Diefendorf
Urban transportation planning influences and legacies: Kurt Leibbrand, Germany’s acclaimed postwar traffic planner
This article explores several dimensions of the work and career of Kurt Leibbrand, often considered the most influential German urban transportation planner after 1945. It examines some key ideas prevalent in his publications, such as his advocacy of the priority of transportation planning, hostility to citizen participation in planning, and rejection of pedestrian zones. In assessing his status, the paper discusses his contributions to traffic plans for the cities of Basel, Mainz and Selb. The paper also examines some shifts in his career, including his move to the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in 1950 and his resignation there after his arrest for having ordered the murder of Italian volunteers in his army unit during the war. Leibbrand was convicted of manslaughter but not punished because the statute of limitations had expired. He continued to work as a consultant but did not again hold an academic position in the German-speaking world.
Graham P. Gladden
Marketing ocean travel: Cunard and the White Star Line, 1910-1940
The Cunard shipping line regarded itself as the premier provider of transatlantic passenger transport. As the structure of society on both sides of the Atlantic changed between 1910 and 1940 the company sought to maintain its market amongst the richest of society whilst attracting new passengers from the emerging middle class. Accordingly, Cunard adjusted its marketing in advertisements, brochures, promotional films and ship designs. Two passenger classes, the well-established First Class and the new Tourist Third Class are used to show how the company used all these media to both influence potential passengers’ travel decisions and to reassure them of a safe, comfortable voyage in surroundings appropriate to their status, tastes and expectations.
Michael K. Bess
Routes of conflict: building roads and shaping the nation in Mexico, 1941-1952
This essay explores the social, political, and economic impact of road building in Mexico during the Second World War and early Cold War years. It examines the evolution of federal road-building policy alongside regional case studies of construction efforts in the states of Veracruz and Nuevo León to highlight how local politics were influenced by broader transnational processes related to the U.S.–Mexico bilateral relationship. The author argues that road building was an essential component of Mexican economic modernisation in the 1940s and early 1950s, which facilitated new rural–urban market connections and established the development of key commercial industries in the country.
Dhan Zunino Singh
Meaningful mobilities: the experience of underground travel in the Buenos Aires Subte, 1913-1944
The paper explores the experience of travelling on Buenos Aires’ Underground Railways (Subte
) during the first decades of the twentieth-century. Reconstructing representations of passengers and their experiences through visual and textual sources, the paper shows how this underground mobility was a meaningful practice that expressed ambivalent sentiments towards progress and the rhythm of modern urban life. On the one hand, there was popular fascination with new technologies as well as a celebration and exaltation of this encapsulated mobility as a rational organisation of space in relation to time. On the other hand, the Subte
was criticised as a form of regimentation and dehumanisation which turned passengers into automatons.
Ian J. Kerr
Colonial India, its railways, and the cliometricians
Exhibition and museum review
Sex and the Sea: Rotterdam’s Maritime Museum Jo Stanley
Bernhard Rieger, The People’s Car: A Global History of the Volkswagen Beetle
Joseph F.C. DiMento and Cliff Ellis, Changing Lanes: Visions and Histories of Urban Freeways;
Iain Borden, Drive: Journeys through Film, Cities and Landscapes
Sébastien Gardon, Goût de bouchons: Lyon, les villes françaises et l’équation automobile
[A Feeling of Traffic Jam: Lyons, the French Cities and the Automobile Equation
] (Etienne Faugier)
Michael B. Miller, Europe and the Maritime World: A Twentieth-Century History
John Poulsen, Fra Lyntog til InterCity. Historien om landsdelstrafikken i Danmark gennem 75 år
[From Lyntog to InterCity. History of Inter-Regional Rail Transport in Denmark over 75 years
] (Martin Schiefelbusch)
Richard Vahrenkamp, The Logistic Revolution: The Rise of Logistics in a Mass Consumption Society
Christopher W. Wells, Car Country: An Environmental History
David Ashford, London Underground: A Cultural Geography
Robin Higham, Speedbird: the Complete History of BOAC
Daniele Pozzi, Una sfi da al capitalism italiano; Giuseppe Luraghi
[Challenging Italian Capitalism: Giuseppe Luraghi
] (Valentina Fava)
Albert Broder, Los ferrocarriles españoles (1854-1913): el gran negocio de los franceses
[The Spanish Railways (1854-1913): the Big Business of French People
(Pedro Pablo Ortúñez)
M. Hvattum, B. Brenna, B. Elvebakk and J.K. Larsen (eds), Routes, Roads and Landscapes