Characteristics of unpaved roads in the late 18th century – early 19th century, and the design of the first wooden trackway as a forerunner to the Bukovyna railways

Keywords: Austrian Empire, transport, construction of railways, periodization, ways of communication of Bukovina


In the history of Bukovinian social life in the 1840–1850s, an important role is played by the fierce struggle for the introduction of rail transport. This struggle took place in the deepening crisis of the feudal system and the development of capitalism in the Austrian Empire. Primitive medieval methods of transporting goods and passengers by waterways and unpaved roads, which for centuries met the needs of feudal Bukovyna, became a brake on the economic, social and political progress of the Bukovyna region. The beginning of the transport revolution in England had a huge public response in Austria-Hungary. The rapidly developing relationship between scientists and engineers from Austria, Western Europe and America in this period made a large contribution to the process, as the newest means of transportation were spreading in the early 19th century, first of all, in the industrialized regions of Europe. These regions had enough funds for the construction of roads because they could develop different methods of production. Today we are mostly interested in the projects of construction of typical means of transportation on agricultural lands with practically no industry. In the early 19th century, Bukovyna was one of them. The purpose of this article is to thoroughly analyze unpaved roads of the late 18th – early 19th century, as well as the project of the first wooden trackway as the forerunner of the Bukovyna railways. To achieve this purpose, the authors first reviewed how railways were constructed in the Austrian Empire during 1830s – 1850s. Then, in contrast with the first railway networks that emerged and developed in the Austrian Empire, the authors made an analysis of the condition and characteristics of unpaved roads in Bukovyna. The government's attention to Bukovyna's roads was explained by their military, economic and political significance for the Austrian Empire by the end of the 18th – early 19th century. There was a number of state trackways built on the territory of Bukovyna which crossed the region and ensured the military interconnection of two Austrian provinces named – Galicia and Transylvania, as well as approached the borders of the Russian Empire and the Danube principalities. At the same time, they helped to restore the suspended trade flow in Bukovyna. In addition, the authors considered the first attempt to create a wooden trackway as a prototype and predecessor of the Bukovyna railway. It is evident that such an idea played a significant role in shaping the development strategy of the region in the minds of Austrian and Bukovinian officials, and became a forerunner for main and regional railways in Bukovyna.


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Strelko, O., & Pylypchuk, O. (2021). Characteristics of unpaved roads in the late 18th century – early 19th century, and the design of the first wooden trackway as a forerunner to the Bukovyna railways. History of Science and Technology, 11(2), 437-452.

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