The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 7 (December 1, 1932)
Railway Centenary Celebrations — Tickets Of Solid Brass
Railway Centenary Celebrations
Tickets Of Solid Brass.
The railways of New Zealand recently celebrated their sixty-ninth birthday. In Britain, railways go back further than this. Following the celebration some years ago of the one hundredth anniversary of the opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway and the centenary of the Liverpool and Manchester line, there has recently been appropriately observed the one hundredth anniversary of the opening of the first railway in the Midlands—the Leicester and Swannington system, now forming part of the L.M. and S. Railway.
The Leicester and Swannington Railway possessed only one locomotive when it began operations. Named the “Comet,” this engine was built by Robert Stephenson and Company. The line included two steep gradients, operated by stationary winding engines and cables. On the inaugural trip over the system in 1832, George Stephenson himself drove the first passenger train.
It was on the Leicester and Swannington Railway that the locomotive whistle first saw the light of day. Discarding the horns and trumpets of the other early railways, the directors of the line equipped the “Comet” locomotive with a unique steam trumpet worked off the engine boiler. On this pioneer line, too, it is interesting to recall, passenger tickets were for long made of solid brass. Among the first employees—and certainly amongst the most diligent—was a track labourer's wife, who, for nearly forty years, served jointly as stationmaster, booking clerk, platform porter, and signalman.—(From our London Correspondent.)
In the whole of the world there are 10,440 miles of electric railway, distributed among ninety administrations. Proportionately, Switzerland shews the greatest progress in railway electrification, 65 per cent, of the Swiss lines being operated electrically.