Today in Transportation History – 1892: A Norwegian Public Transportation Pioneer Makes His Last Stop

Jens Theodor Paludan Vogt, a civil engineer, and public transportation pioneer died at the age of 62 in Norway’s capital city of Kristiania. (In 1924, the city formally readopted its original name of Oslo.) Vogt had been born in 1830 in the Norwegian parish of Fiskum.

To say that Jens Vogt came from a highly accomplished family would be an understatement. His father Niels Nielsen Vogt served as both a member of the Norwegian Parliament and a vicar. Jens Vogt’s uncle Jørgen Herman Vogt, attained the high-ranking government position of first minister of Norway. In addition, Jens Vogt’s cousin Volgrath Vogt was a prominent educator and author. Jens Vogt’s son Nils Collett Vogt also gained a large measure of fame by becoming a renowned poet.

Jens Vogt’s own journey to achievement first took shape with his extensive studies at Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden; the Higher Vocational School/Polytechnic Institute (present-day University of Hanover) in Hanover in the Kingdom of Prussia (now part of Germany); and Polytechnische Schule (present-day Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) in Karlsruhe in the Grand Duchy of Baden (likewise now part of Germany). One of Vogt’s earliest jobs entailed working for the roads engineering department at the Norwegian Ministry of the Interior.

In 1868, Vogt and architect Paul Due sought to establish the first horsecar operation s in Kristiania. The city government, however, rejected their application for this means of transit. A new application submitted by Vogt and Due for a horsecar system was ultimately approved by municipal officials in 1874. A/S Kristiania Sporveisselskab (KSS) was incorporated to run this system; Vogt became the company’s first director.

KSS officially launched its service in 1875, becoming only the second horsecar network in the Nordic countries.  (The network in Copenhagen was the first.) KSS’s original system consisted of three lines connecting various neighborhoods within Kristiania. This system continued to expand as its horsecar operations became increasingly popular and profitable.

As director of this enterprise, Vogt remained alert to potential innovations and often traveled elsewhere in Europe to see how other transit networks were run. In 1883 alone, for example, he visited both London, England, and Nantes, France, to assess the networks in those cities. While visiting Antwerp, Belgium, in 1885, Vogt helped establish the International Association of Public Transport. Just over 14 months after Vogt’s death, Trygve Poppe succeeded him as director of KSS.

For more information about Jens Vogt, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jens_Vogt.

Additional information about A/S Kristiania Sporveisselskab is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kristiania_Sporveisselskab.

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