The Copenhagen-Korsør Railway
The railway transformed life in Denmark. Passenger and goods transportation speeded up and became cheaper. Times changed, traditional trade routes were relocated, new towns and industries sprang up. Denmark's first railway was built in two stages; first came the line linking Copenhagen with Roskilde in 1847, and in 1856 the tracks were extended right through to Korsør.
The railway that united the country
The railway, together with the steam engine, marked the beginning of industrialisation in the 1840s. As the network grew, the railway united the market towns, so large amounts of goods and passengers could be transported much faster than before.
The railway connected the entire country and changed our perception of time. Time, which had varied by some minutes from region to region, was standardised in about 1863, so that timepieces could be synchronised the length of the railway, and the trains could follow the same timetable.
'Trains on time' became a watchword and the pace of life picked up.
With its gentle curves and level profile the railway shows its old age. It derivers from a time where the tractive forces of the locomotives were limited.
The initiative for building the first railway in present Denmark came from the private sector and was supported by the newly founded industrial association which established the Seeland Raiway Company.
The line opened June 26th 1847.
Along English lines
The technology came from England, where the first passenger railway from Manchester to Liverpool opened in 1830. An English engineer, Willam Radford, was responsible for the railway project in Denmark. But characteristically, the company also hired a German engineer named Friedrich Busse to hedge its bets.
Central workshop and engine sheds
Along the railway between Copenhagen and Korsør, a number of buildings illustrate the history of the line from 1847 to the present day; stations and warehouses, roundhouses and bridges, as well as the area where the rolling stock was maintained and the central workshops in Copenhagen with their housing for salaried employees.
Railway companies were some of the first large organisations to have their own building department early on. Many of the buildings are a particular type designed by architects N.P.C. Holsøe and Heinrich Wenck, who ran the building departments of the Danish State Railways. Both Holsøe and Wenck are counted as leading architects of the time. The stations, especially, were seen as prestige buildings with many fine details.
Industries move in
The railway also attracted large industrial companies that, from the end of the 1800s, often built new factory complexes near a railway line. This was also the case with the new planned industrial estates like Copenhagen's Free port dating from 1894.
The railway and the labourers
Making a railway took lashings of elbow grease back then. Poor farmers and people from Sweden flocked to earn a living laying the tracks. The labourers quickly became specialised and followed the work around the country.
the railway station in Roskilde is the oldest in Denmark. It was built 1847, but later modified several times. Although railways were a British technology the architecture of the station was influenced by German railway architecture like the Bayrischer Bahnhof in Leipzig 1842-44 or the Hamburger Bahnhof 1845-47 in Berlin.
HEAR THE SOUND OF THE RAILWAY
The Copenhagen-Korsør railway has been selected as a national industrial heritage site because it:
• is the first stretch of railway in Denmark
• helps unite the country and makes goods transportat much easier, facilitating trade
• and the steam engine, symbolise the beginning of industrialisation. Copenhagen Central Station and the Central Workshop are also typical of the second wave of industrialisation