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Title: Trains of thought : railways as island antitheses
Other Titles: Railways as island antitheses
Authors: Baldacchino, Godfrey
Keywords: Railroads
Economic history
Economies of scale
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: Shima : the international journal of research into island cultures
Citation: Baldacchino, G. (2008). Trains of thought : railways as island antitheses. Shima : the international journal of research into island cultures, 2(1), 29-40
Abstract: This article discusses the impacts of railways on islands, and of islands on railways. It argues that railways constitute a development logic that may work well on sprawling mainlands with industrialised economies and large enough populations residing in high density clusters but they are hard pressed to achieve viability in service-driven island jurisdictions where there are critical mass constrains in terms of both potential passengers and freight, at times even in spite of relative affluence or high population densities. Thus, the mere existence, or even the improvement, of transport infrastructure does not guarantee economic and social progress. Many railways and their histories have now been somewhat accommodated within the service industry of various islands. However, the ‘fatal attraction’ they have provided to investors, elites and politicians in the past may recur in relation to other, mesmerising technologies, with their promise of serving as development panaceas.
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