The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 12 (April 1, 1929)
Otira Tunnel Traffic
Otira Tunnel Traffic
Scarcely anything in the recent history of Canterbury and the West Coast is more encouraging than the steady increase in the traffic carried through the Otira Tunnel (says the Christ-church “Sun”). The figures recently published in Christchurch show in the clearest possible way how great a necessity it is that the Tunnel satisfies, and how it has opened the way to progress on both coasts, and accelerated it; and the steadiness and the rate of the increase, taken together, are the best of indications for the future. The same set of facts, by the way, may be commended to the appetite and digestion of the grumbling critics who never tired of condemning the tunnel scheme, who even counselled the Government to down tools, cut losses, and leave the Alps half-bored, and who have looked but sourly on the operation of the line since the tunnel link completed it.
It is interesting to note that, when the monthly figures and total figures for the years 1924 to 1928 are studied, the marked yearly increase is produced, not by heavy fluctuations with a credit balance, but by steadily maintained monthly increases. Thus, the yearly figures, in hundreds of thousands of tons, for the last five years, are 302, 355, 422, 450, 537; and, if we take the totals for any one month, say June, in each of those years, they are, in tens of thousands, 25, 35, 38, 39, 56. For November, again, they are 26, 28, 31, 39, 49. Only once or twice does a monthly figure show a drop from the figure for the same month of the previous year. The increases, month by month, from 1924 to 1928, have, roughly, doubled the tonnage carried.
It is worth remembering, also, that this has been achieved in spite of a long and fairly severe depression in New Zealand, from which neither Canterbury nor the West Coast has escaped.
On the contrary, in fact; for one of the most severely depressed industries has been sawmilling, a staple industry on the West Coast. Yet, though many mills have worked short time, or been closed for considerable periods, the increase of the tunnel traffic has not even faltered. A revival of the timber will push it still more vigorously ahead. Canterbury and the West Coast may congratulate themselves on their possessing this channel by which prosperity flows from each to the other, and on which they must look, this year and through a long future, as a connection indispensable to them, and as one of the most valuable commercial and transport connections in the Dominion.page break
A Popular Railway Picnic Resort
(Photos by P. J. Rodgers, Petone.)
On Saturday, 23rd February, the annual picnic of the combined staffs of Lower Hutt Workshops and the Maintenance Shops at Kaiwarra, drew a record attendance of members and their friends to Maidstone Park—Wellington's beautiful rail-served picnic ground. The picnic arrangements were in the hands of a large and capable committee, to whose energetic work the success of the outing was, in a large measure, due. A feature of the day was a free distribution of toys and sweets to the children, to whom the outing proved a memorable one… The views shew: (top) the picnickers at Maidstone Park, and (bottom) Petone Railway Station before the departure of the special picnic train.