The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 7 (November 1, 1928)
“Freight on the Rails” — Department's New Publication
“Freight on the Rails”
Department's New Publication
A publication which the Department now has in the printer's hands bears the above title, and contains the following foreword by the General Manager of Railways (Mr. H. H. Sterling).
“The purpose of this book is to give the public something that has never before been available—a reference publication regarding the principal goods trains operating throughout the Dominion, and a description of the facilities for handling freight provided by the Department for the use of its customers.
“Recent years have witnessed a marked expansion in our goods traffic. The tonnage shows an increase from 5,373,136 tons in 1918 to 7,366,762 in 1928.
“In view of this, and the additional lines into new territory recently taken over by the Working Railways, coupled with the steady improvement now being effected in rolling stock, equipment, signalling practice, shunting facilities, and train operating methods and results, I feel that the time has come for a better diffusion of knowledge regarding the general capacity of the Railways to assure for the Dominion an effective freight service.
“Steady though the increase in our goods traffic has been, I believe that much greater expansion is possible. Just as the motor has shown how, given suitable facilities, passenger traffic may be extended, so the general improvement in the means of rail transport for goods, with adequate publicity in regard thereto, should bring about a great expansion of the Department's freight business. The growth of the Dominion's urban population, irregular as to locality, but constant in numbers, has made it necessary for commercial people to revise the idea formerly held that the nearest market must necessarily be the best; and the more progressive amongst them are already reaching out to treat the whole Dominion as their market for internal trade.
They have been able to do this to their economic advantage because of the progressive steps taken by the Department in such matters as ‘through booking’ by rail and steamer between the Islands and ‘through’ express goods train services, between the principal centres in each Island, aided by a favourable tariff framed on the established principle regarding rail transport that ‘long hauls pay best’ —a n advantage which the Department is, moreover, prepared to share equally with its customers.
“I desire this publication to supply every kind of useful information that will help those who trade with us to take the fullest advantage of our transport facilities for extending the scale and scope of their businesses.
“It is intended to keep the general information up-to-date by sufficiently frequent reprints, and to this end I invite suggestions from the public as to any further information that might be included in future editions likely to add to the usefulness of the book for practical purposes in the daily conduct of their businesses.
“My experience of outside commercial life has impressed upon me the importance and value of the ‘customer viewpoint,’ and any assistance I can gain from this source will be fully appreciated and should help the Department steadily to increase its usefulness in accomplishing the purpose for which it exists—the supply of the fullest and best possible service to the people of this country.”