The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 7 (December 1, 1932)
Hullo! Hullo! Ghristmas calling — Crainlanders! — An Exciting Mystery Train
Hullo! Hullo! Ghristmas calling
An Exciting Mystery Train.
Exams, over, and now for holidays!
These will be the last school holidays many of you older girls and boys will be having. Even now you are probably puzzling and wondering what work life holds for you. This month I have written another letter which I do hope will help some of you older ones.
And now, I simply must tell you all about a really truly exciting mystery train in which I travelled. No, it was not one of the excursion mysteries!
It happened like this. I was waiting at a little station the other Monday morning, waiting for the train to take me back to the city after having spent the week-end in the country.
In rushed the train. It was the longest train I have ever seen! There were forty-three carriages! All of them, except the four passenger ones, were packed with parcels, all shapes and sizes—quite different from everyday ordinary goods.
The whistle blew; the engine coughed impatiently, so in I hopped, still very puzzled indeed. In fact, I was so puzzled that when I took out my little purse mirror to see if there were any smuts on my nose, I found that my face was the shape of a question mark?
There happened to be eleven little children, with their mothers, in the carriage in which I was. One poor little chap had toothache. At last he simply had to cry. “Never mind, little man, the dentist will soon make it better when we arrive in the city,” said his mother, trying to soothe him. But he just couldn't stop crying. It hurt so much.
Suddenly, an old man who had been writing in the corner, jumped up—no not with annoyance—he had such a kind face above his snowy white beard. He hurried from the carriage, and in three minutes returned with a box. He gave it to the little boy. The box was so big that the little fellow couldn't get his arms around it. Can you guess what was in it? The very latest Hornby train! Instantly every tear stopped work to let the wee chap's big eyes gaze with wonder at that tip-top train.
“That's alright,” beamed the old man, in reply to the mother's astonishment and thanks. He patted the little boy's head and returned to his seat and went on writing and writing in his. big thick note-book. Was that the end?
Oh, dear me, no!
The other children crowded round the little boy and his train. They gasped once, twice—then they all burst out crying!
Up shot the old man, completely bewildered. Then he realised what all the commotion was-about They each wanted something, too!
“Oh! my dears,” cried he; “I forgot you others. Follow me, even though I'm sure you all haven't got toothache!” he added, with a merry twinkle in his eyes.
Off they trooped, following him through the carriages, laughing and chattering.
I went, too! I was about bursting with excitement and curiosity. What a mystery train this was!
And, children! What do you think? Those carriages were packed with TOYS! The kind old man gave them books, dolls, games, and bon-bons.
“Here, what's all this?” cried the guard “Oh-ah, I see!” How amused he was!
“Oh, Mr. Guard, what are all these mysteries?” cried I.
The guard drew me aside and showed mer hanging behind a door, a red cap and coat edged with white fur.
“Father Christmas has decided to ‘travel by train’!” he chuckled.
“Well, well, well—–,” I gasped….
Anyway, wasn't Father Christmas knowing not to travel in his well-known red cap and coat? If it had been otherwise, I am sure that most of his toys would have quickly disappeared.
Weren't those children lucky happening to be on that mystery train with him?
Wishing you all the happiest, jolliest Christmas, and don't forget to look for the lucky threepennies in Trainland's first plum pudding.page 57
P.S.—Here's a hurried afterthought! Please don't think that you have to cry to gain the attention of Father Christmas this year! He whispered to me afterwards, when we arrived in the city, that he always saves the nicest things for those with the biggest smiles. Do you think you can stretch your smile a bit more? I'm going to try. Yes, my word, I am!
* * *
Results Of Our Monster Railway Competition.
Where was the “Mystery Line?”
First Prize (seniors).—Lillian Linklater (17), P.O. Box 4, Hokitika.
First Prize (juniors).—Rona Skiffington (8), 17 Devon Road, Frankton Junction.
Owing to school examinations and this Railway competition requiring time and careful thought, the entries did not quite reach the 1,000 mark. Therefore, as each entrant is a prize-winner it is not necessary to fill up all our pages with the long lists of names.
The “Mystery Line” was the Oamaru-Dunedin section of railways.
The majority of paintings were surprisingly original and attractive, and choosing the two best was no easy matter.
Entries were received from almost every town and outlying district in New Zealand—right from the North of Auckland to the Bluff.
Well done, Trainlanders!
* * *
Ten Best Entrants for Our Spring Pages.
John O'Neill, Cromwell, Otago Central; Norma McDonald, 55 Derby St., Westport; Ivan and Joan Mitchell, 46 Hills Rd, St. Albans, Christchurch; Iris Stinson, P.B. Kati Kati; Lois State, Lumsden; Agnes Ross Ross, Mandeville, Southland; Robert John Gall, 167 Musselburg Rise, Anderson's Bay, Dunedin; May and Alec. McDonald, 15 Brooks St., Lower Hutt, Wellington.
Write and tell us about YOUR ambitions—what you want to be, and why.
Book prizes for the best and neatest. Seniors, 18 years and over 12; Junior Section, 12 years and under. Entries to be unaided, and not to exceed 150 words. Use one side of paper only.
Closes December 30th. Results in February N.Z. Railways Magazine.
Please mention if you have already won a prize in Trainland, so that if you win another we can send you something different.
Address all your letters and entries to
The Children's Editor,
N.Z. Railways Magazine,
* * *
A Suggestion For Future Ministers Of Railways!
I was overjoyed when I saw that the N.Z. Railways Magazine was going to have a Children's Page. Please can I come into Trainland? I thought I would shunt in quickly before the rails were crowded, for my boilers will soon burst if I don't hurry up and tell you what I've thought of suggesting. Now, wouldn't it be jolly if we could have rank and file; give points for drawings, good writing or letters, stories, poems, and when you've got ten points you are Cleaner So-and-So, and gradually work up the ladder until you are Minister of Railways or Mayor of Trainland.
28 Clifton Street, Addington, Christchurch.
Trainland's officials (whose pictures are on the first page of our Trainland) thank you for your bright ideas, Dorothy. However, for reasons of safety, comfort and economy, they have agreed 'twill be best if all are equals. So, instead, we will all travel through Trainland as first-class passengers!