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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 5 (September 1, 1929)

The Spring Unrest

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The Spring Unrest

After a winter well suited for alpine sports and for that kind of holiday which seems to demand for its full satisfaction the atmosphere of the high levels, the return of spring brings with it the spirit of unrest that travel is best calculated to assuage. Although all kinds of people have a preference for the springtime—“the only pretty ring-time” —none welcome it more than those who have had to carry on throughout the winter the steady routine of work.

Thus the popularity of the low-fare excursion period which the Department provides coincident with the school spring vacations, is assured of public support. It was this year joyously welcomed by the people, young and old, who had the good sense to take the chance of a health-reviving holiday at a time when the quickening pulse of the season made change a good thing for both mind and body.

To townspeople in particular, travel in the springtime is necessary to keep them in touch with the evidences of reawakened nature which the country alone produces in full measure. The little lambs frisking in the fields, the “day-old” calves trucked to maintain a thriving industry, the blooms bursting on the trees, and the flowers opening in their wealth of scent and colour all supply material for that chapter in the story of the year which tells of post-winter renewal.

Even our versatile humorist, Mr. Ken Alexander, has succumbed to the spell of the spring season, and sings, in this issue, of “the cryptic cry of the early spud” and other strange phenomena. The spring unrest, however, cannot be quelled for everyone during the brief spring excursion period, so the travel movement carries on and over with only a brief lull, into the full swing of summer holidaymaking.

But the spring unrest does more than make one want to “rise and go, where the golden apples grow.” It produces, also, that spring-cleaning spirit which affects every good housewife, unsettles dust and cobwebs, and brings about a brisk business in new brooms. This same spirit carries over to the workshops, the station, the goods-shed, the signal-cabin and the track. It leads mean to analyse their work with a view to betterment, to try experiments in new ways, to tune up their jobs, and to refresh their minds and methods in keeping with the revival which Nature is carrying on around them. All who are sensitive to the insistence of spring should welcome the unrest which it brings, for it supplies the finest possible external incentive to progress and self-improvement. To neglect the call of spring in this direction is to fall behind in the general movement towards development which the years bring, and to lose touch with the great driving force that has brought page 6 mankind along through the centuries in an ever upward development towards the greatest good.

This is the time when new ideas are brought forward most hopefully, when enterprise gains the interested attention of investors, when plans that have been in cold storage all the winter are brought out for an airing and have their best chance of acceptance. For with the spring unrest comes a spirit of hopefulness and optimism that makes for better business and lays the foundations upon which the ultimate progress of the year is built.

The glorious springs that New Zealand enjoys are among the things that help this country to maintain and improve her great productive records, and we, as railway-men, can heartily welcome a good spring such as that upon which we are entering, for it means increased traffic and better opportunities for proving our usefulness to the country as a whole.

The Auckland-Rotorua Express.
Two New Trains Under Construction.

Two new, complete trains have now started building in the Railway Workshops at Otahuhu.

In these are incorporated the very latest practice in railway carriage construction, many of the old features of New Zealand carriages having completely disappeared. The windows are of plate glass and are of the balance type, opening from the top to the bottom, and are frameless. One of the many important details which have been included is the fitting of vestibules to all cars, thus securing, by an enclosed space, a more complete connection between the carriages, and doing away with the old type open platform at the ends of cars.

Railway Efficiency Appreciated

G.P.O. Box 1133, Auckland, July 18, 1929.

The Honourable Mr. W.B. Taverner, Minister of Railways,


Dear Sir.–

You would do me a great favour if you would allow me to express to you, not only on my behalf, as Organising Secretary for the “Emden” Reception Committee in Auckland, but also on behalf of Mrs. Thedens, my sincere thanks for the courtesy which you have shown in issuing invitations to us during our stay in Wellington while the German cruiser “Emden” was there.

Your generosity has greatly contributed in making our sojourn in your city a most pleasant one, and I respectfully ask you to convey our most hearty thanks to the Officers of your Department who co-operated so successfully that I do not wish to miss this opportunity to congratulate you upon their efficiency.

It would please me very much if you would consider my services at your entire disposal at any time that occasion might present itself.

I have the honour to be, dear Sir,

Yours faithfully,

(Sgd.) O.J. Thedens,

Austrian Trade Commissioner for New Zealand.

Each first-class car is fitted with a coupé to accommodate six passengers. These coupés have proved most popular on such trains as the “Golden Arrow,” which some consider to be the finest train in the world. Special attention has been given to the seating, which will be considerably more comfortable than our existing seats, being of the reversible type. They will have three positions, i.e., day, semi-lounge, and total recline. The metal work for the seats is being made of aluminium alloy, thus saving 501bs. in weight per seat as compared with the existing type. All seats are so arranged in the car as to give a clear view from the seat through the related window. The cars are fitted with atmospheric steam heating apparatus, and generous electric light and fans. Each car is fitted with a lavatory with hot and cold water. The whole of the water capacity, 160 gallons, is carried below the under-frame, and is raised by air pressure. Each vehicle of the train is sheathed with Vitron enamel plates. The object achieved by using this sheathing is that there is no painting required, the surfaces being easily cleaned by the use of a sponge and hose. The whole train will be finished in Midland Lake red. Another new feature is that for the first time in New Zealand automatic couplers will be used for the cars of the two trains.

At the end of each train is a specially constructed and generously equipped observation car. This car has windows 3ft. 6in. in width, it has a rounded glass end, and is furnished with lounge chairs.

Many improvements are being embodied in the second class cars. Each of the Rotorua Express services will consist of a total of eight vehicles.