The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 7 (December 1, 1932)
New Zealand Railways Refreshment Branch — General Activities
New Zealand Railways Refreshment Branch
Over twenty million passengers are carried in an average year of operations on the New Zealand Railways, and the problem of seeing that they shall not go hungry on their journeys for want of opportunity to have good food and drink at reasonable cost and with suitable facilities is one to which the Railways Rrefreshment Branch demotes its attention. The principle of taking refreshment at wayside stations rather than on the train is carried into effect on this system with marked success.
Feeding The Multitude.
The New Zealand Railways Refreshment Branch came into existence as a separate unit of Departmental organisation in August, 1917, and since then its functions have been increased to such an extent that it has developed into an important subsidiary service.
Commencing in a very small way with only eight Refreshment Rooms (the control of which was taken over from lessees) the first Controller of the Branch, Mr. Irwin Paris, established an organisation which has stood the test of time.
Service the Watchword.
The cardinal aim of those responsible for controlling the operations of the Branch has, since its inception, been the provision of the best possible service to the travelling public. It is also worthy of note that the operations of the Branch have been conducted every year at a profit to the Department.
Once the position respecting the earlier refreshment rooms had become consolidated it became the settled policy of the Department to take over the more important refreshment rooms as the leases expired. This extension of activities, together with the fact that some new rooms were erected to meet the requirements of passengers travelling on the new lines opened during recent years, has resulted in the number of rooms now under Departmental control being increased to thirty-one.
The refreshment rooms are located at various points throughout the railway system of the Dominion, and whether at Whangarei in the north, or on the Lake Wakatipu steamers in the south, patrons are assured of obtaining high class refreshments at reasonable prices. Refreshment rooms are operated at the following stations:—
Whangarei, Maungaturoto, Helensville, Auckland, Mercer, Frankton Junction, Paeroa, Tauranga, Putaruru, Taumarunui, Ohakune, Taihape, Marton, Hawera, Patea, Aramoho, Palmerston North, Waipukurau, Woodville, Paekakariki, Kaitoke, Masterton, Christchurch, Otira, Ashburton, Oamaru, Palmerston, Dunedin, Clinton, Gore, and Lake Wakatipu steamers.
Set meals are obtainable at Frankton Junction, Marton, Otira, Oamaru, and on the Lake Wakatipu steamers, while light meals are served at Auckland and breakfast at Christchurch.
Other Functions of the Branch.
In September, 1922, the Controller of the Branch was appointed a purchasingpage break
New Zealand Railways Refreshment Branch
(Rly. Publicity Photos.)
Refreshment Branch, Headquarters at Wellington.—(1) Staff, Accounts, and Stores Purchase Section; (2) Mr. W. Elsom, Chief Clerk; (3) Mr. F. Lindsay, Controller; (4) Records and Typist; (5) General Office.
Typical seenes in Government Railways Refreshment Rooms.—(1) Refreshment Room, Auckland Station; (2) kitchen, Auckland; (3) Refreshment Room, Ohakune; (4) Dining Room, Frankton Junction; (5) Rrefreshment Room, Frankton Junction; (6) Refreshment Room, Marton; (7) Dining Room, Marton; (8) Refreshment Room, Palmerston North; (9) Refreshment Room, Paekakariki.
officer, under the authority of the Government Stores Control Board, for the purpose of purchasing groceries and foodstuffs for all Government Departments. “The work involved is of a highly specialised nature, and its performance necessitates the handling of a very large number of requisitions, to the approximate value of £200,000 annually.
Another service which the Branch has controlled since its inauguration on 10th April, 1925, relates to the hire of cushions on the principal express trains. As an indication of the extent to which this service is availed of by the travelling public, it will suffice to say that since its inception the average number of cushions hired at 1/- each is 83,900 per annum.
When Auckland's new station was opened, on 10th November, 1930, the Refreshment Branch entered into occupation of the bodkstall and fruitstall, also the hairdressing saloon and the bathrooms. The Branch still continues to operate these services.
Other bookstalls now under Departmental control are located at Christ church, Dunedin and Masterton.
The staffing, equipping, and cleaning of the Vice-Regal cars, Ministerial cars, special cars, sleeping cars, and ladies' cars are also under the jurisdiction of the Branch.
Some Interesting Figures.
|Cups of tea, coffee, and cocoa sold in counter rooms||1,235,417|
|Sandwiches and pies sold||1,110,023|
|Set meals served||115,660|
In addition to the foregoing, there were large sales of fresh fruit, aerated waters, orange juice and other drinks, and miscellaneous items of edibles.
In so far as the accounts of the Branch are concerned, the double entry system of book-keeping is in operation, and the staff performs the whole of the work connected therewith—the accounts, of course, being subject to reconciliation with the control-ledger, which is kept by the Chief Accountant.
The control of the Branch is vested in the Controller (Mr. F. Lindsay), who has associated with him a Chief Clerk (Mr. W. Elsom), and office staff of twelve. Two Supervisors, one located at Auckland (Mr. P. Box) and the other at Christchurch (Mr. P. H. Stevenson), are responsible in the first instance for the supervision of the refreshment rooms and other activities within their respective districts. The average number of casual staff (rooms managers, waitresses in charge, chefs, cooks, waitresses, saloon operators, bookstall assistants, depotmen and attendants) employed during the year 1931–32 was 265.