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TITLE «Ένα από τα όνειρα της προόδου …». Το ζήτημα της δημιουργίας σιδηροδρόμου στην Κρήτη (1880-1930)
AUTHOR Κυπριωτάκης Δημήτρης
LANGUAGE Ελληνικά / Greek
PUBLISH DATE 27.02.2019
KEYWORDS δημόσια έργα, δρόμοι, λιμάνι, σιδηρόδρομος, τραίνο, εμπόριο, Κρητική Πολιτεία, Rossels, Σαββάκης, Πεζανός, αυτοκίνητο, επιμελητήριο Μεσαράς
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For Crete, the second half of the 19th century constituted a transitional period which reached its peak with the implementation of the conditions in the Halepa Pact. Under the resulting circumstances, the need for a better connection between local and international trade networks intensified. The enhancement and construction of new transport networks, spreading between cities, ports and the main productive areas of the mainland, was one of the basic requirements needed to achieve this.

Within this context, the first proposals regarding the possibility of constructing a railway network came to the forefront, introducing a series of lengthy efforts which lasted for almost half a century. However, these initiatives, originating with private individuals, did not bear fruit, as the distrust and fear of the local population, combined with the hesitation of the authorities led to various problems.

In the period of the Cretan State, the dominant perception with regards to the modernization of the island significantly altered the situation, as the railway was imbued with a symbolic value. The subsequent failures of the Cretan Government led to a widespread feeling of disappointment and aggravating discussions concerning the construction of other, more basic infrastructure which would contribute not only to the increase of domestic

agricultural production but also to the development of trade, permitting the eventual materialization of more complex and burdensome construction works such as the railway.

The last era essentially began at the time of the Unification of Crete with Greece and the resulting situation after the end of the First World War. The high labour cost, the difficulties in importing construction material, as well as the preponderance of the most important competitor of the railway ‒ the motor car ‒ led to the concentration of all efforts on the improvement and expansion of the motorway.