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The Effects of Rail Transport on Hungarian Towns
The modernising effects of Hungarian rail travel was not as explosive as nineteenth- century people seem to have imagined, or even as they are perceived today. The study is based on a database of rail traffic records from 328 towns between 1890 and 1910. By 1890, 70% of these towns (229) had a railway station, and by 1900 the railway system reached 82 further towns. At the turn of the century, the average road distance between town centres and railway stations was 3.3 kilometres. There is a strong correlation (0.8) between the population of towns and the number of passengers getting on and off at the station. The volume of incoming cargo depended on the economically active local population working in industry and trade (correlation of 0.69).
Due to contemporary economic policy, the effects of rail travel on urban development became more pronounced. Its modernising and gentrifying effects were perceptible mainly in towns, which fulfilled other conditions necessary for development, such as available capital and workforce. In the first half of the 1890s, the number of passengers multiplied as a large number of people, who had previously never or rarely travelled by rail, became regular passengers. The basis for increasing rail traffic was formed by the increased needs and demands of a gentrifying society. As the number of passengers soared, the average distance travelled by rail decreased. Mass production industries were the first to recognise the possibilities offered by the new mode of transport, which was not dependent on favourable weather conditions. Consequently, the largest volume of cargo was generated in towns with such industries. The beginnings of agglomeration and commuter transport is only perceptible in a few sporadic cases near Budapest.
The Railway in Ferencváros: Spatial Analysis of a Metropolitan Industrial Zone
To this day, Central Europe’s biggest rail hub is the Budapest-Ferencváros Railway Station, which was first opened in 1877. While there has been much sociohistorical research conducted into the social impact of important passenger stations, the history of the rail lines connecting Budapest stations and the construction of the Ferencváros railway station has remained unexplored. The study briefly discusses the background and history of the station’s construction and goes on to explain the consequences of this development: the main focus is on the radical changes that the station brought to the urban district of Ferencváros and the first Hungarian metropolitan industrial zone as social space.
The effects of the railway on Ferencváros as a social space were ambiguous. On one hand, conscious town planning and well-developed infrastructure, as well as the district’s unusual proportions and busy industrial plants, created a hitherto unknown atmosphere of modernity. On the other hand, the railway has also contributed to the solidification of problematic characteristics, such as isolation and peripherality. The connecting rail line had an important role in the country’s internal trade. However, while the station connected Ferencváros to the national bloodstream, in reality this meant the district’s ultimate segregation within the gradually integrating Budapest space.
The study concludes with the examination of the social space formed by the Ferencváros railway hub itself. Archival sources attest to the inclusion-like existence of the Hungarian Railway’s Budapest-Ferencváros station in the fabric of the district and Budapest in general. The station’s operation is isolated from its immediate surroundings: as a living and working space it is fundamentally different from the surrounding working class residential district, whose existence, at least partially, had been a result of the development of the station.
The History of Building the Sopron–Pozsony Suburban Train Line
As early as 1848, there was a rail connection between Marchegg (now in Austria) and Pozsony (now Bratislava in Slovakia), which was the most important town in the north-western part of Transdanubia. Later, this line provided a link to Vienna and from 1851 the Pozsony-Párkánynána line created a direct connection to Pest-Buda as well.
The line between Sopron and Bécsújhely (now Wiener Neustadt in Austria) was built even earlier, in 1847. From 1865 the railway connected Sopron, Szombathely and Nagykanizsa. However, the establishment of a rail line between the two formerly royal chartered towns was preceded by a long struggle. Following the first unsuccessful bids in 1866, the efforts of the so-called ’licenciates’ remained similarly fruitless due to lack of support and funds. At the beginning of the 1890s, new entrepreneurs appeared on the horizon and the supporters of the line became divided. One camp wanted the line to go through Ruszt (now Rust in Austria), while the other preferred the Kismarton (now Eisenstadt in Austria) route. Both of these towns had a lot to lose, as their future development depended on the railway line passing through. Finally, after years of debates and lobbying, the Kismarton camp triumphed. Once they obtained the licence, they were able to raise enough capital and finish the construction of the long-awaited suburban line by the end of 1897.
Wages and Worker Benefits at Hungarian Rail Companies before 1918
The establishment of the Hungarian rail network created a new type of occupation and railway employees were contracted by specially customised work agreements from the very start. Besides the details of the employee’s duties, these agreements also contained a list of worker benefits. The study is a detailed analysis of benefits provided by private rail companies, followed by those received by the state-employed workers of MÁV (Hungarian State Railways) after nationalisation. The study explores the system of non-pecuniary benefits and fundamental changes in work contracts, which took place in several stages across time. The description of this process traces the social integration, acceptance and growing prestige of rail workers, who were becoming an increasingly influential and important social group.
The Birth of a Socialist Vehicle Manufacturing Company: Corporate Development from Drays to Planes and Monocoque Buses
The study discusses the history of one of the most important predecessors of Ikarus, the Uhri Brothers’ Chassis and Vehicle Manufacturing Company, from the beginning of the Second World War to the time of its nationalisation. During the industrial prosperity of the war the originally family-owned company remained a private enterprise but obtained state capital to develop its new company profile in chassis and plane manufacturing. After the war the company was involved in the war compensation transports and rebuilding works. However, unionisation, worker councils and party units (both Communist and Social Democrat) supported by the new regime meant that the private directorial position held by the Uhri family members in the company was losing ground.
The state’s restrictive loan policies after the launch of the new Hungarian Forint ended the company’s inflation-stimulated boom and the company entered a difficult financial phase. Due to debts and insolvency, the family was forced to allow the state to take over the company before the general nationalisation of industries.
However, divided by their association with either the Social Democratic Party or the Communist Party, there was an increasingly sharp competition for the company’s leadership between factions of the expanding state apparatus governing the country’s economy. This also divided all the company workers who belonged to either of these so-called workers’ parties. With the establishment of the one-party system, the conflict ended with the victory of the workers and organisations associated with the Hungarian Communist Party. Until a major capital investment in the 1960s, Ikarus’s manufacturing capacity, with regard to human resources and machinery, remained essentially the same as it had been established during the years of wartime prosperity. The development of the monocoque body for buses, which was the company’s impressive innovative achievement in the 1950s, was also largely based on the resources inherited from wartime investment and development.
The Role of Transport in the Urban Space of Szombathely between 1945 and 1968
Transport is one of the most determinant aspects of the use of space. In spite of this, the history of urban transport seems to have held little interest for historians. Hungarian and international literature suggests that little work has been done to explore the relationship between transport and urban development. Works in this field concentrate rather on interurban transport (railway, waterways, air travel) than intraurban transport (local transport within a settlement).
In the socialist era, the transport in Szombathely, a Hungarian mid-sized town was characterised by lack of funds to expand and develop the transport infrastructure inherited from pre-war years. Decisions regarding the town’s transport issues were not made locally and the town was at the mercy of central will. The town’s transport was characterised by the prevalence of foot and bicycle traffic, as well as public transport. The relatively small size of the town was especially favourable for foot and bicycle traffic. The development of transport, especially public transport, failed to keep up with geographical expansion and population growth of the town, as well as its industrial development which began to attract commuters. As tramways were bursting at the seams, the town’s bus network was beginning to develop. The public transport grid was established by the 1960s, which facilitated and accelerated the use of urban space. However, the quality of service was significantly lower than pre-war standards: overcrowded vehicles, skipping services, and so on, were all common signs of substandard service. The quality of services were hardly consistent with the town’s transport needs and the population’s effective demand. This may have been one of the reasons for the predominance of foot and bicycle traffic in comparison with public transport.
Private companies in public transport were eliminated. Buses, lorries and taxis were merged into the state-owned AKÖV company, while trams were transferred under the management of the town council. Politics had a marked influence on transport, including free transport for privileged individuals, the use of communist symbols (red star, red flag), and changing street names. Minor changes can be seen after 1958, when private cars were allowed on the roads, larger capacity tram carriages were introduced, and the number of bus lines was increased. Private cars continued to play little or no role in the use of the town’s urban spaces.
The Effects of Railways on Public Travel and Transport Practices, Economy and Lifestyle in Kecskemét and its Surroundings between 1946 and 1980
The study is a comprehensive survey of the complex and interrelated effects of the railway lines around Kecskemét on local population from the building of the first lines in the mid-nineteenth century to the present. By the beginning of the twentieth century, rail had become the most important and most economical mode of regional travel and transport. Rail transport began to dominate long-distance freight and international travel and transport, and so it did among the economically productive public too; so much so that they volunteered their own financial resources and work to support the building and further development of the railways. From the 1960s, however, the public’s preferred travel and transport means were replaced or complemented by organised road transport (lorries, buses). From the 1970s, the boom of private car transport did the same. As a result of the hub structure of modern railway lines, the catchment area of these traffic hubs also expanded, while the importance of smaller, traditional, subregional centres was waning. The intensity of travel and transport to and from big towns increased.
The growing speed and increasingly dense transport network had a complex and fundamental impact on the life of local society. Alongside further innovation, it affected and accelerated the expansion of civic acquis in the town and the surrounding areas in an extremely complex way. The study summarises the impact of rail transport on the economy, as well as cultural and social life of an originally market-town/farmstead society, the relationship between town and country, and the development of public mobility. In addition to secondary sources in the field of the history and sociology of transport, history of technology, and local history, the primary sources of the study are documents from the Archives of Bács-Kiskun County, the collections of the Transport Museum, railway archives and collections, daily press from Kecskemét and interviews with local people and transport employees.
Reflexivity in History
Historical theory, in discussing the requirements of good historical practice, tends to place reflexivity on top of the list. The recommended kind of reflexivity is a mixture of methodological reflexivity and radical referential reflexivity; the requirement of philosophical introspection about one’s own presuppositions and the actions one performs (methodological reflexivity) is intertwined with the requirement of scepticism about representation (radical referential reflexivity). Due to this intertwinement, when historical theory requires introspection, it determines the result of introspection as well: historians provide representations while they have to subscribe to the theoretical position of being sceptical about it. In other words, in the name of reflexivity historical theory offers the result of its own inquiries into the nature of historical writing as a criterion of good historical practice. This essay argues against the notion of reflexivity as familiarity with historical theory and regards reflexivity as a literary device – not as a matter of necessity but as a matter of choice. As a literary device, reflexivity is neither a necessary feature of performing good historical practice, nor an attachment to any theory. Due to its indifference to epistemological, ontological, or other philosophical concerns, reflexivity as a literary device does not oppose any particular historical theory, but, as a consequence, it deprives every historical theory of its ambition and objective to measure and transform historical practice. Finally, it is important to point out that the essay is not an argument against historical theory and its insights into the nature of the entire historical enterprise, but an argument against unjustifiably high ambitions.
New Models in the Interpretation of the Role of Clergymen’s Wives in the Reformed Church between the 1870s and 1930s
The study explores the model change that transformed the role of protestant clergymen’s wives at the beginning of the twentieth century. The traditional ideals for women married to pastors was primarily concerned with their role within their own families to present an example for the congregation. The new model emerging at the beginning of the twentieth century faced changing expectations in close association with the social changes taking place in the period, as well as the ecclesiastical reform movements of the time, such as home mission. The new ideal for clergymen’s wives was to become an important figure in the life of the church, and one of their new tasks was to lead and guide female communities. The church intended to support this new role by founding an organisation (National Federation of Wives of Protestant Clergymen), which aimed to create and build the group identity of clergy wives.
The process of change in the role of clergy wives can be interpreted as a unique professionalisation process, whereby these women did not become paid professionals of an occupation, but underwent a special process of building a new consciousness. However, the main duty of clergy wives remained the provision of assistance for the increasingly voluminous and complex duties of their husbands, regardless of the women’s education, which, after 1917, often entailed a theological degree. While their status continued to be determined by their husbands’ office, from the beginning of the twentieth century they are seen to make increasing efforts to build their own prestige. This can be interpreted as a form of a female emancipation attempt and an example of awakening self-identification.