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Yves Pourcher

As seen from France, World War I was first and foremost a matter of transporting men who had to be brought en masse to the front. This article describes the first departures and analyzes the sentiments they elicited: sadness, resignation, fear. Men climbed into the trains and went off to war: these first voyages were followed by countless others that bore little resemblance to those of August 1914. Wounded, exhausted, discouraged, and occasionally rebellious, soldiers passed through the railway stations, which had become the heart and soul of the country. In the towns, fear spread as supplies began to be scarce and living conditions deteriorated. Life unfolded to the rhythm of the passing trains until, at the end and in the aftermath of the war, other train cars arrived bearing those who had died.

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Yves Pourcher

As seen from France, World War I was first and foremost a matter of transporting men who had to be brought en masse to the front. This article describes the first departures and analyzes the sentiments they elicited: sadness, resignation, fear. Men climbed into the trains and went off to war: these first voyages were followed by countless others that bore little resemblance to those of August 1914. Wounded, exhausted, discouraged, and occasionally rebellious, soldiers passed through the railway stations, which had become the heart and soul of the country. In the towns, fear spread as supplies began to be scarce and living conditions deteriorated. Life unfolded to the rhythm of the passing trains until, at the end and in the aftermath of the war, other train cars arrived bearing those who had died.

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Road against Rail

The Debate on Transport Policy in Belgium, 1920-1940

Donald Weber

When new motorized means of transport, such as buses, vans, and lorries, captured part of the transport market in Belgium in the interwar period, the rail companies engaged in a political fight to restrict the new modes of road transport. Attempts were made to introduce fiscal and administrative measures aimed at limiting road transport. This coincided with an intense debate on transport policy, both in the press and in parliament. The article focuses on the discourse driving this debate. It is argued that the positions taken were motivated by economic issues, but that there were underlying cultural motivations, different perceptions of what transport should represent in the lives of the users and the whole of society. The focus on the so-called coordination debate is widened beyond the conflict between trains and vans in the 1930s, to include the conflict between automobiles, buses, and trams in the 1920s.

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Mauro Tebaldi

On 5 December 2009, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, together with

the director-general of the Ferrovie dello Stato (FS), Mauro Moretti,

officially opened the new high-speed/high-capacity railway line, linking

Turin, Milan, and Salerno at the central station in Milan. The

work, which had taken almost 40 years to complete, had involved

the laying of just less than 1,000 kilometers of track that is specially

designed to carry high-speed trains. The following day, the high-speed

train service provided by Trenitalia began operating on the line with

the latest ETR (Elettro Treno Rapido) 500 Frecciarossa and ETR 600

Frecciargento trains. The year 2010, therefore, marked the official

operational start of the project that had first been drawn up by FS in

the early 1960s with the aim of providing high-speed rail links for the

main Italian cities along a north-south axis in response to two clear

challenges—the growing competition from airlines and an increasing

preference for road use.

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Trains of Thought

The Challenges of Mobility in the Work of Rhoda Broughton

Anna Despotopoulou

This article examines women's mobility in the work of Rhoda Broughton, looking closely at her use of the railway as a means of rendering not only the movement but also the drifting consciousness of her heroines. Combining privacy and publicity, movement and stasis, the railway in Broughton's work affects the subjectivity and everyday routine of women, becoming a literary means of exploring woman's complex response to the transitory nature of experience, the rapidly shifting states of consciousness, and modernity's fleeting images - all of which are reflected in Broughton's idiosyncratic style.

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Deborah Tyler-Bennett

Wormfood by Robert Roberts, (Devon: Pikestaff, 2010), 978 1 900974 36 3, £7.50, (pb)

Dove Release: New Flights and Voices, ed. David Morley (Kent: Worple Press, 2010), 078 1 905208 13 5, £10.00 (pb)

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Paul Dietschy

Modern sport was born at the same time as modern mobility. Sport became one of the biggest promotional tools, first through cycle competitions, then car races. First intended for the wealthy, motor sports soon invited the middle classes to enter into a culture of freedom and social advancement which accompanied new forms of mobility. However, the links between sport and mobility are not restricted to motor sport or publicity. Indeed modern sport is a child of modern mobility, and just as the spread of new forms of mobility played a fundamental role in the passage from rural to urban societies, the transport revolution accelerated the decline of the traditional games and made possible the invention of contemporary sport and of global sports culture and space.

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Stéphanie Ponsavady

In his famous 1925 travelogue, Roland Dorgelès writes about his first encounter with the Mandarin Road in Indochina:

When you have dreamed for years of the Mandarin Road, the very name of which evokes all the splendors of the Orient, it is not surprising that you experience a flash of annoyance if you are suddenly held up at a corner, between a street-car and an autobus, by some numbskull who triumphantly announces, with the idea that he is delighting you:

“Well, there it is, your Mandarin Road!”

And then he shows you a guidepost with a blue sign, executed in the purest style of the Department of Bridges and Highways, whereon you read simply, “Colonial Road No. 1.”

Disappointment resides in the resemblance with metropolitan roads, signified by a generic blue sign. Dorgelès laments the lack of exotic experience, even though his presence is only permitted by colonial modernization and administrative uniformity. This tension between the desire for alterity and the rationalization ofspace is characteristic of the French experience in colonial Indochina.

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Urban Railways in Buenos Aires

Spatial and Social Alienation in the Documentary Film El tren blanco

Benjamin Fraser

Mixing transportation studies, film analysis, and urban geography, this article looks at El tren blanco (The white train), a documentary film from 2003 by directors Nahuel García, Sheila Pérez Giménez, and Ramiro García. In light of work by train theorist Wolfgang Schivelbusch and urban geographer Henri Lefebvre, the documentary's interviews with cartoneros—cardboard workers who ride daily into central Buenos Aires to pick up recyclable goods—speak to the alienation and spatialization of class that characterize the contemporary urban experience. Following an urban cultural studies approach, attention is balanced between the social context of Buenos Aires itself and the film as an item of aesthetic value. In the end, it is important to pay attention both to the train car as a space in itself and to the historical and contemporary positioning of the train in larger-scale urban shifts.

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Jo Stanley

Let us begin with the jokey new term ‘ferrosexuals’, meaning people who experience wanton fetishistic desire for trains—also more romantically labelled ‘buffer kissers’. When I was a lass too young to have heard of the Mile-high Club, ferrosexuals were called ‘train-spotters’ and their ardour was seen as innocuous, if pitiably nerdy. Does the new term mean that machines for travel are now seen as sexy, because we live in increasingly sexualised societies? Or does it mean that an underlying sexual charge in people’s interest in trains is finally being made explicit and taken seriously? We do not know. And the reason we do not know is that scholarly work—particularly historicised work—has yet to be done on sexualities’ many interfaces with transport and mobility.