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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 7 (November 1, 1928)

Conditions in Germany

Conditions in Germany.

Let me turn now to the German aspect of this interesting problem.

A commission to study the road and rail problem and recommend a working agreement between the railway and existing road services was set up in page 29 Germany in 1923, and all service vehicle owners were merged into a common organisation which was to operate services throughout the whole of the country. Under the terms of the contract entered into, services operated by the amalgamated undertakings were originally to cover :—

1. The transport of goods in congested traffic areas and also short hauls in so far as this could be done more economically by road than by rail.

2. The transport of goods to railway stations and house to house deliveries.

3. The performance of such other tasks as could be assigned by the German Railway Company.

Oiling up at a regular stopping place on the Tuatapere Branch, Southland.

Oiling up at a regular stopping place on the Tuatapere Branch, Southland.

As originally constituted, this organisation did not entirely meet with the success which had been anticipated. The German Railway Company, therefore, instituted a further investigation of the entire problem employing for the purpose of the inquiry specialists in road and rail traffic. The findings of the second Commission reiterated the necessity for the German Railway Company to participate in the road transport industry and in conformity with these findings the German Railway Company, in conjunction with the Government, decided to secure the major portion of the stock of two suitable motor transport undertakings thus securing a more active interest in this line of effort than heretofore. The methods by which full co-operation between road and rail is secured, are as follows:—

In regard to deliveries, the road vehicle furnishes the necessary connection between stations and areas not served by the railway, this traffic being operated either on the basis of an independent agreement or in co-operation with railway transport on the basis of a uniform delivery contract. So far as parallel and cross country transport is concerned, the road vehicle is employed as an independent means of transport between different places having railway connections. In this latter case the agreements are, in general, not subject to the provision applying to rail transport.

In cases where rail transport is in process of substitution by road transport, the railway uses motor vehicles for its own auxiliary operations for carrying out delivery agreements in districts where the said rail connection exists. In such cases the closing down of the railway line or the taking over of individual operators becomes possible. Moreover, three methods of co-operation of what is termed “neutral” traffic also receive consideration in Germany. This “neutral” traffic is that which employs motor transport for the carriage of, say, building materials, employees’ excursions, etc., in districts far remote from the railway system. In contradistinction to the situation in most other countries, the delivery to and from railway stations in Germany is mainly carried out by the traders whose activity as solicitors of traffic, as well as their importance in the economic life of the country, makes it necessary to include them in the Company if it is to do this work to the greatest advantage.

One of the difficulties which Germany has to encounter is the lack of organisation among road transport operators and the inexperience and want of business acumen which causes them to accept traffic at cut rates which cannot be otherwise remunerative. The continued existence of these units is the greatest weakness of the road transport industry as a whole.