The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 7 (December 1, 1932)
[Extract from the General Statement of the Board's Policy.]
The policy to be followed by the Board is expressed in general terms in Section 14 of the Government Railways Amendment Act, 1931, which reads as follows:—
“14. (1) It is hereby expressly declared that the general functions of the Board shall be to carry on, control, manage, and maintain the Government railways to the end that the railways, while being maintained as a public service in the interests of the people of New Zealand and as an essential factor in the development of trade and industry, shall be so carried on, controlled, managed, and maintained on the most economical basis, having regard to the economic and financial conditions from time to time affecting the public revenues and trade and industry in New Zealand, with a view to obtaining a maximum of efficiency and maintaining a proper standard of safety and a reasonable standard of comfort and convenience for persons using the railways and any other services carried on in connection therewith.
“(2) The Board shall, having regard to all such matters as aforesaid, provide reasonable remuneration and grant reasonable conditions of employment to all persons permanently or temporarily employed in the service of the Department.
“(3) It shall be the duty of the Board from time to time to consult with and obtain from the Minister of Finance all such information respecting the state of the public revenues as will enable it to carry out its functions as aforesaid in the best interests of New Zealand, and the Board shall have due regard to any such information as aforesaid that may from time to time be furnished to it by the Minister of Finance.”
Obviously, the first obligation implied in this section is the obligation to give service. When the Board took over the control of this Department it found that a review of the train services had just been made. Where the services that had been in operation were found to have been beyond reasonable requirements they had been eliminated. The Board undertook a further review, not only of the train services, but of all other branches of service that were, or might be, afforded by the Department. As far as the train services were concerned, it was found that there were still some services the continuance of which was not economically justified, and where the circumstances showed that a rearrangement of the time-table was desirable this was done….
Improved Standard of Service.
The “Royal Scot,” it may be noted, has just celebrated its seventieth anniversary. At 10 a.m. daily this giant among passenger trains pulls out of Euston Station, London, arriving in Glasgow at 5.40 p.m. —400 miles in 7 hours 40 minutes. Described as “four hundred tons of wheeled comfort,” the “Royal Scot” expresses during the past seventy years have covered 17,000,000 miles.
Selling Railway Transport.
Intensive selling campaigns launched by the Home railways promise to increase considerably the volume of business handled. This problem of popularising railway transport is one that faces the leading systems of every land, and nowadays it is generally recognised that railway transport is just as much an article of commerce as, say, dairy produce, woollen goods, or hardware. The article the railways have for sale is of the highest quality and most reasonably priced; what is essential is that it should be marketed attractively and convincingly.
To this end, one railway—the London, Midland and Scottish—has just appointed a new official to act as Sales Manager, in the person of Mr. Ashton Davies, one of the best known of railway officers, who started his career as a telegraph messenger earning five shillings a week. The position has been created purely because of the need for the development of the selling side of railway activities. The responsibilities of the job are simply and solely to sell rail transport: to fill 19,059 carriages with a capacity of 7,108,561 passengers 365 days of the year; and to discover freight for 283,310 goods wagons with a carrying capacity of 3,101,443 tons. In Mr. Davies' own words, his task is “to find out what the public want, and to see that they get it.”
What Statistics Reveal.
Statistics are apt to be regarded by many railway folk as something of a bore, but the intelligent employment of statistics is essential to the proper understanding of the railway situation. Recently there have been published the annual railway returns covering the operations of the British lines during 1931, and these reveal much of interest for railwaymen everywhere.
During 1931 the gross receipts from railway working amounted to £170,158,-536, compared with £184,836,382 in 1930 —a decrease of £14,677,846. The bulk of this reduction was in low-class traffic not susceptible to road competition. Expenditure on railway working dropped from £147,595,684 in 1930, to £136,858,-604 in 1931—a saving of £10,737,080. Big economies were made in salaries and wages, and in the locomotive coal bill. The operating ratio increased from 79.85 per cent. in 1930 to 80.43 per cent. in 1931. As regards total net receipts, these were £33,632,047 in 1931, as against £38,044,598 in 1930—a decrease of £4,412,551. Among the statistics of operation, we have the following interesting figures:—Passenger train miles per train hour: 14.72 in 1931, as compared page 22 with 14.59 in 1930. Freight train-miles per train hour: 9,11 in 1931, as against 8.83 in 1930. The total number of passenger journeys declined by 4.66 per cent. compared with 1930, passenger receipts being down 7.39 per cent.—this due to the increased operation of cheap fares. Goods and mineral traffic decreased by 35,980,959 tons, some 268,380,148 tons being handled during 1931. Taking all in all, these statistics are decidedly reassuring, bearing in mind the difficult times through which railways are passing.
The Position in Germany.
Like the British lines, the German railways have been hard hit by the prevailing trade depression. The recently published annual report of the German National Railways for 1931 shows that the total railway revenue for that year was 16 per cent. less than for 1930, and 28 per cent. less than in 1929. Freight receipts were actually down 19 per cent., and passenger receipts 15 per cent. Expenditure was cut by 11 per cent. as compared with 1930, but the ratio of working expenditure to working revenue grew in 1931 to 94.12 per cent., compared with 89.50 per cent. in 1930.
During 1931 the German Railways took out of service 3,300 locomotives and 221,000 goods wagons, owing to shortage of business. Throughout the year there was recorded a marked discarding of first and second-class passenger travel in favour of the cheaper third-class, as well as a big diminution of workers' transport in industrial areas. Because of the lack of fresh capital, big electrification schemes have had to be postponed. An interesting feature is the growing participation of the German Railways in road transport. Ninety-eight regular passenger motor car routes, totalling about 1,500 miles, are now operated by the railways in association with the postal authorities. In addition, the railways are operating special excursion trips by road motor, and have acquired twelve company-owned passenger omnibus lines, and thirteen omnibus lines jointly with other concerns.
The Morris Track-layer.
Mechanical appliances for track repair and maintenance are being increasingly employed by railways in every land. These enable operations to be more expeditiously and economically performed, page 23 and are in line with the general trend for the increasing utilisation of machinery in every industry.
Among the more important appliances favoured, there may be mentioned the Morris track-layer; petrol-electric welding appliances and grinders for the building up of worn parts of crossing work; petrol-operated drilling and rail cutting machines; petrol-driven screwing and boring machines for holing sleepers and screwing in chair screws; mechanical tampers; and specially designed tip wagons for rail conveyance.
On the L. and N.E. Railway a petrol-driven ballast riddle is in experimental use. This consists of a 1 ¾ h.p. Villiers two-stroke petrol engine of light motorcycle type, driving, by means of a chain, a vertical shaft, at the top of which is a cam connected to the underside of an inclined riddle. The riddle movement is semi-rotary, directly backwards and forwards at the low end, with a circular movement at the elevated end, due to the action of the cam. Under the screen there is fitted a loose steel reversible container to collect the waste material. The clean stone is shaken off the end of the screen into a second container. The apparatus is mounted on a wooden frame, and the whole outfit is readily moved from place to place.
While difficulties associated with finance are holding up many electrification schemes, in Britain the Southern Railway is pushing ahead with its important main-line electrification between London and the South Coast resort of Brighton. Traffic is exceedingly heavy on this section, and in addition to the enormous suburban business handled, there are operated many through twelve-car Pullman expresses weighing 550 tons and travelling at high speeds for distances of over sixty miles from London. Fifty-two route miles are covered by the London-Brighton electrification, or about 163 miles of single track. Electric trains are now running as far south as Three Bridges, and very shortly the throughout electrification to Brighton will be completed.
The suburban electrification of the Southern covers 276 miles—to be increased to 328 route miles on completion of the London-Brighton section.
Altogether, Britain has about 500 route miles of electric railway. There is the Metropolitan (31 miles); the Metropolitan District (25 miles); the L.M. and S. (110 miles); and the L. and N.E. (32 miles) to name the principal systems at present operating.page 24
“Choose such holiday pleasures that recreate much.”—Fuller.
Scenes at Tongariro National Park, North Island, one of New Zealand's most popular pleasure resorts. (1) The Chateau at sunset; (2), (3) the lounge at the Chateau; (4) Corner of the billiard room; (5) Silica Springs Falls; (6) Mt. Ngauruhoe (7,515 ft.) from the lounge window; (7) Taranaki Falls; (8) Party on the way to Scoria Flat; (9) Transport service; (10) National Park Railway Station; (11) Flashlight photograph of excursionists arriving at National Park Station.