Infrastructure: roads and rails


From footpath to motorway

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The first oxcarts created ancient roads. The quest for safer and faster transportation resulted in the construction of Denmark's first network of main roads between 1764 and 1861. Railways made it possible for travellers to move quickly from one part of the country to another. But the railways ran into a tough duo in the car's improved mobility and the construction of motorways. Transportation technology has driven the development of the traffic network and travel patterns.

In 1867 Interior Minister Jacob Estrup gave responsibility for maintaining main roads and road services to the counties. The state had spent nearly a century building the 1,365 kilometres of main roads, but the emphasis had now shifted to the railway. Estrup earned the nickname the Railway Minister" and a number of MPs agreed that all long-distance traffic would soon go by train.

Railway fever
The rail network with stations, garages, semaphores and all the other technical equipment it included was built at breakneck pace in the 1860s and 1870s. The first railway ferry across the Little Belt went into service in 1871.

With new road and rail networks, Denmark in the 1800s had become a much smaller country in terms of travel time. A journey by mail coach from North Jutland to Copenhagen that before could take three days now took a day by rail. Railway fever broke out across the country in the 1890s, and the period saw a number of private railways built. But the…

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