The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 6 (October 24, 1926)
Railway Accidents — New Zealand Safety Precautions
New Zealand Safety Precautions
In reference to some recent comments made by the press regarding the condition of the Railway Department's passenger rolling stock, the following particulars should prove reassuring. It has, for instance, been suggested that expert advice might be obtained concerning the safety of passenger car axles.
During the whole period of operation of the New Zealand Government Railways only three axle fractures have occurred under passenger vehicles. The following statement shows the average passenger train miles per axle fracture for nine years ending 31st March, 1926:— Total passenger train miles….……24,823,210 Axle fractures under passenger vehicles…….2 Passenger train miles per axle fracture 12,411,605 To ensure that reliable axles are used under rolling stock the Department observes stringent rules. When placing orders, an approved list of manufacturers consisting only of British firms who have a world-wide reputation for producing a reliable article, is worked on. That axles be manufactured in accordance with British standard specifications is always enforced, and usually inspection is made by the Department's inspecting engineer in Britain.
In the case of passenger vehicles, other special precautions are taken.
(1) The standard axle used under Main Line cars and vans has 7 in. × 3¾in. journal and provides an ample margin of safety for vehicles of their weight.
(2) No axle over 15 years of age is placed under Main Line passenger rolling stock.
(3) No axles, the journals of which have been scored and require re-turning as the result of hot-boxes, are placed in service on express or mail trains.
A limit of wear for journals is set, and no axle, the wear on which has reached this limit, is allowed to continue in service on any vehicle. It is very seldom necessary to remove axles on this account, however, because they are withdrawn through age long before the journals are worn down to the limit.
The Department fully realises its responsibilities in providing safe transit for its customers and all that is humanly possible is done to ensure that rolling stock is in satisfactory running condition to carry the valuable freight with which it is entrusted.