Die Ungeduld mit der Zeit. Britische und deutsche Bahnpassagiere im Eisenbahnzeitalter.
Scholars have often equated the potentials of modern time culture with its practical effects. Yet new possibilities created by faster trains, synchronized clocks or the regulation of passenger movements only tell us so much about how people perceive and use time in their everyday lives. When it comes to time, the place of the action matters often more than the conventions of linear time. Drawing on British and German railway passengers' experiences, this article demonstrates that the nineteenth century, usually described as a period of acceleration, was also an age of rising impatience. This widespread sense of restlessness was not primarily a reflection of national characteristics. What proved more instrumental was the acceleration and growth of railway communication: Living in "the age of progress", men and women had expected timetabled trains to render their lives more predictable. As a feature of modernity, impatience manifested itself first in Britain, where, by the 1860s, early industrialization and extensive urbanization had fostered a uniquely dense network, with trains that were travelling at faster average speeds than anywhere in the world. By the 1890s Germany’s railway network was as dense and dynamic as Britain’s, and her travelling public was as impatient as its British counterpart. Now German railway passengers too grew increasingly restless when trains failed to keep their time.