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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 1 (April 21, 1927)

By Royal Train Through New Zealand

page 8

By Royal Train Through New Zealand.

In our February issue an attempt was made to anticipate pictorially the course of the tour of their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of York over the railway portion of their journey through New Zealand. A full record of the run, from the time the Royal Party joined the train at Auckland to the moment of alighting at Bluff, viewed from its railway aspect, should prove historically interesting. Space, however, prevents the publication of a complete account at present.

His Royal Highness on the footplate.

His Royal Highness on the footplate.

In the North Island, railway routes were followed from Auckland via Frankton to Rotorua. For the balance of the journey the train was also used excepting for the motor run between Rotorua and National Park. These train journeys included the Main Trunk run from National Park to Marton and through Taranaki to New Plymouth, returning by the same route and thence across the Island to Napier from whence the journey to Wellington was made via the Wairarapa line and over the Rimutaka incline. The wonderful variety of scenery encountered in the course of this itinerary and the general impression of well-being created by the appearance of the happy groups at every stopping places, made a big and lasting impression upon our Royal visitors and their entourage.

The northern portion of the journey in the South Island was made mostly by motor, but at Inangahua, on the West coast, junction was made with the northernmost tentacle of the South Island Main Trunk system, and thereafter all travelling on the tour, excepting that from Cromwell to Kingston via Pembroke and Queenstown, was made by the South Island Royal train.

When it is remembered that a distance of over 1,700 miles out of a total itinerary comprising slightly over 2,000 miles was traversed by rail, it may be understood to how great an extent the railways of this country were used in preference to other modes of travel by our Royal visitors on their mission of Empire.

The Chief Mechanical Engineer to His Staff:-

Workshops manager,
Railways, Addington.
Royal tour, 1927.

I want to take this opportunity of not only thanking you and your staff for the manner in which the construction and alterations to the vehicles used on the Royal train in the South Island was done, but to congratulate all concerned on the excellent workmanship exhibited. The finish of “Passchendaele” and the Royal train was all that could be desired. The Royal car itself is, to my mind, the finest car yet built in New Zealand. The workmanship is equal to, if not better than, that of any car that has been built at Home and I am extremely proud to think that under the existing conditions, such highly satisfactory work, which reflects the greatest credit on all of you, could be accomplished.

In conclusion, the whole-hearted enthusiasm and untiring efforts of all grades to put on the New Zealand Railways a car which, for the purpose of transporting such distinguished visitors, would be a credit to the Dominion, was a source of gratification and pride. I greatly appreciate all that has been done.

G. S. Lynde

Chief Mechanical Engineer.

In a circular letter to the workshops Manager at Petone, Mr. Lynde remarks inter alia:

“Having seen special rail carriages in different parts of the world, I can say, unhesitatingly, that the royal car was quite one of the best, and I am bound to state that the general appearance and finish are equal to, if not better than anything of its kind.”