The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 4 (August 24, 1926)
In a recent message to the staff of the London and North Eastern Railway, Sir Ralph Wedgwood, Chief General Manager, commented as follows on the important question of punctuality in train services:—
“The secret of punctuality is team work and attention to detail. Everyone can help by giving thought, and everyone can hinder by taking things for granted. The Station-master can help by seeing that his staff are on the spot before the arrival of the train, and after its arrival, by counting the seconds until it departs. The station staff can help by getting milk cans, luggage and parcels into position before the train draws up, and when the train is in, by attending first to the unloading and loading of vans. The driver can help by making up lost time whenever possible between stations. The supervisory and time-table staff can help by maintaining a practical and workable schedule of trains. Every detail counts and unless they are looked after time will inevitably be lost… . . I believe every member of the staff feels with me that the reproach of unpunctuality brings more discredit to a railway company than any other which can be levelled against it.”
Unpunctuality is undoubtedly a very serious blemish whether it concerns individuals or train services. In the latter case, of course, due allowance must be made for the vagaries of the elements and other factors incidental to railway operations which cannot be anticipated or controlled. In every other respect, however, the observations of Sir Ralph Wedgwood are in the interests of good service.
Level Crossing Accidents in America
Statistics of level crossing accidents in America, covering the months of January and February of the present year, have just been published by the Interstate Commerce Commission. They show that the number of persons killed at level crossings increased from 258 to 344, or 33 per cent., as compared with the corresponding months of last year, whilst the number of employees killed at places other than level crossings during the same period, declined from 314 to 261. About 85 per cent, of all the fatal accidents at level crossings in America occur to motorists. In commenting on these facts the “Railway Age” says that what is needed to bring about a diminution of these accidents is “better education of motorists regarding the dangers at highway crossings, and the passage and enforcement of laws compelling them to act with more regard for their own safety and that of others.” As far as New Zealand is concerned such laws have long been in existence, and the education of the road using public in the exercise of caution at level crossings is a conspicuous feature of Railway publicity activities at the present time.
Railroads Shun Trucking
The New York “Times” states that several railroads in Nebraska have refused to experiment with trucks as feeders to their main lines or as a means of meeting the competition of motor transportation companies taking a greater part of less-than-carload freight. One reason they give is that in many cases it would mean a duplication of facilities and would result in the carriers competing with themselves. Another reason is that though trucks are now operated without regard to hours and without any license or payment for use of state-provided highways, railroad operation would be the signal for restrictive regulation, highway license tax, and the organisation of employees, who would demand an eight-hour day and penalty for overtime and an increase in wages. “We are not worrying,” said an official of the Burlington recently, “but are trying to adjust an old machine to new ways. We are closing stations where the agents have little to do since small shipments are no longer handled, and operating branch line territory under a zoning arrangement, with long mileage under a central agent, who handles business over long distance telephones.”