The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 7 (December 1, 1932)
The coming of Christmas marks the turn of the year, and like the great event from which the festival derives its origin, the anniversary should usher in each year a happier time for all.
Never in the lives of the present generation has there been so fervent a desire for better times than now, and each move made on the chessboard of world affairs is watched with intensest eagerness in the hope that some masterly stroke of statecraft or “big business” management may lift the load of depression and lead the people into a new period of prosperity.
Meantime what occupies chief attention for the individual is the affairs of everyday—the personal planning and budgeting to meet present emergencies and in preparation for what may befall. Here again there is found an earnestness that indicates the development of an almost universally provident spirit, an attitude of the general public which might he likened more to that of the hard old days of Scottish history than to the usual inconsequent comparative heedlessness of brighter, more prosperous lands and times.
There is a risk that the taking of thought for the morrow may be overdone if it extends to the elimination of necessary holidays. It has long been understood that the stress of modern conditions requires periods of complete relaxation, and that no better tonic to ensure health can be found than that provided by a change of scene and relief from the pressure of the daily strain of work.
Therefore any economy planning should consider some kind of holiday as a necessity rather than a luxury—an expenditure to save cost in other and less satisfactory directions.
For the economic holiday the railways, when everything is taken into account, provide the most satisfactory and least costly of all means of travel, and although railwaymen in general have to work harder than ever at this “turn of the year” holiday season, they are always pleased to see their trains filled up with the joyous throngs of care-free excursionists whose mere numbers help to lend that air of jollity and abandon which is a major ingredient of the holiday spirit.
If this Christmastide should prove to be that “tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune” and not what the times most resemble—the kind of floodtide of which Jean Ingelow sings, there would be great occasion for general rejoicing because of the happy turn in worldly affairs.page 6
But railwaymen can at least say that whatever turn the times may take, they have put up a fine record of service to the community during the last twelve months. They have completed their seventh year of safe conveyance of passengers, making a total of 170 million passenger journeys during that time without one fatality; they have joined wholeheartedly in the economy campaign which has resulted in reducing operating costs; they have taken such care of goods and parcels entrusted to them that the claims arising from damage to goods conveyed by rail in this country constitute an extremely low proportion of the value carried, and compare most favourably with results obtained elsewhere; and they have stood up manfully to the demands upon the service arising from the difficult times through which the Dominion is passing. If good times are coming the railwaymen deserve them; if bad times, they will be faced with traditional courage and loyalty. Let us hope that the turn of the year on this occasion will prove a good turn for all, and that peace and increasing plenty may mark the advance of 1933.