The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 1 (April 21, 1927)
Relative Position of New Zealand Railways
Relative Position of New Zealand Railways.
I, like many others, have returned to the Dominion with the opinion that for our length of track and small population we have a service in advance of actual requirements, but I hold the view very strongly that we cannot rest at that point. The progress made in New Zealand during the last year or two in road improvement and harbour development is surely an indication that, with our sparsely populated areas, road transport in the near future is going to be a much more important factor, both for passengers and goods transport, than it has been in the past.
At Railway Station, Niagara Falls.
Left to Right—F.D. Thomson, C.M.G., Permanent Head, N.Z. Prime Minister's Dept.; J. S. Hunter, Official Secretary, N.Z.R.; Miss Piper, Prime Minister's Office; C. A. Berendsen, Imperial Affairs Officer, Prime Minister's Dept.; Mrs. Coates and The Rt. Hon. J. G. Coates.
Improvements can be made in rail services, but I am of the opinion that we must look to methods of transport to suit special conditions existing in various districts. There can belittle doubt that in certain localities road services are not only more economical, but are the obvious and most efficiently suitable method of dealing with the traffic. Every possible avenue must be explored to enable the Department to retain its traffic and secure the natural increase due to the general growth of the Dominion, and to this end every railwayman is vitally interested, for his livelihood is in the balance. Every competitive bus and lorry on the road means a reduction in railway staff requirements, and, the railways being a national undertaking, the management must not retain services which, by reason of their unsuitability, cannot possibly secure the traffic. For short hauls, such as many in New Zealand require, motor service—from farm to waterfront and vice versa, or from door to door—is a very serious menace to railway transport, but for long hauls the every-improving steam locomotive is holding its own.