The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 6, Issue 2 (June 1, 1931)
The Melting Pot
The Melting Pot
As the melting pot changes the nature of metals, causing rearrangement of molecules, the production of new combinations, and the precipitation of dross, so the depression at present in charge of the world is producing changes in political, social, and commercial life which would never have occurred without it, and which will result in the elimination of much that is useless and wasteful in all three spheres.
In the railways of this country we live in fast-moving or (as some would have it) “locomotive” times. Since the year started we have seen the withdrawal of Divisional Superintendents, reductions in services, staffs, and rates of remuneration, closer co-operation with the Tourist Department, earlier retirements, and a new system of control introduced under which the Railway Board of Directors takes over most of the functions previously performed by the Minister of Railways, and the General Manager occupies a position analogous to that of the previous Railway Board. All these changes were either produced or accelerated as a result of the depression.
Thus there are readjustments on every side, and alertness and alacrity are necessary to keep pace with them. For still the day's work must go on, and the better it is done by each individual the better will be the result for all. Meanwhile we have the assurance of all previous history that the deeper the dip of the “dep.” (as the depression is now sometimes familiarly, nay, almost affectionately called) the bigger will be the recovery when the wheel comes round full cycle.
The railways may be the victims of loaded dice on the competitive side—the general transport situation is also in the melting pot—but so far as New Zealand is concerned one million pounds was declared to be the Department's last year's contribution to the making of a national deficit. Apart from the effect of the depression, much of this was caused by the short view taken by many travellers and business people throughout the Dominion in giving their transport to other than the national system, with the cumulative effect of both adding to the depression and producing the need for increased taxation.
At this point it is worth mentioning the idea propounded in some quarters that too much is being produced. This cannot be true, in general until all wants of a desirable kind are supplied and a balance is left over, which we know to be far from what has occurred up to the present. On page 6 broad lines, the ways by which first, stability, and then progress, can be reached are, however, world problems that are causing anxiety to the most experienced and capable brains, and those who have to carry on while the problems are worked or work themselves out have to fall back on those basic principles and practices which have served well in the past. Among these, steady application to the business in hand is one of the safest and is likely to prove the most helpful in the solution of individual problems.
“My Lady Nicotine”
One of the most pressing questions facing railway undertakings is that of meeting the respective needs of the smoker and the non-smoker in passenger travel. Normally it is the custom at Home to label certain portions of the passenger trains for the use of smokers, while in some continental lands the opposite practice prevails and smoking may be indulged in everywhere except in those portions of trains marked “non-smoking” (says our London Correspondent).
In recent years there has been a marked growth of the smoking habit, and to meet changing conditions the Great Western Railway of England has just arranged for twenty-five per cent. of its passenger accommodation in trains to be labelled “non-smoking,” leaving the remaining seventy-five per cent. available for ardent worshippers at the shrine of “My Lady Nicotine.” This arrangement will, it is thought, be appreciated by passengers generally. It is not only the male smoker who has nowadays to be considered. There is also a large proportion of smokers among the fair sex, while many women not actually indulging in the habit themselves seem to love to journey in the more or less fragrant atmosphere of a smoking compartment. It is just by adapting themselves to changing circumstances such as these that railways continue to maintain their popularity. In railway working, as in other walks of life, it is the little things that count.
The British Advertiser's Weekly tells of a new and vigorous counter-attack against the competition of the cigarette coupon gift schemes which has been launched by John Elkan Ltd., the jewellers.
This firm are now retaliating by giving away cigarettes to every purchaser of their jewellery, watches, and fancy goods, and are attracting a lot of attention by the display they are making of the scheme at one of their city branches.
The purchaser receives twenty cigarettes for every 5/- worth of goods purchased, whilst a guarantee is given that there has been no increase in prices. Moreover, the purchaser can have his own particular brand of cigarette.
An amusing instance occurred in the case of a customer who was purchasing a £100 engagement ring. When he found that he would be entitled to no fewer than 8,000 cigarettes with it, he promptly enquired whether the firm would also give him a tobacconist's license, so that, without breaking the law, he could sell the surplus cigarettes to his friends.
The point that emerges from this new angle to the coupon war is that, whoever wins, while the battle rages the ammunition, cigarettes, will be used in increasing quantities by both sides.
Bound Copies of the Magazine
The publication of the March-April issue of the Magazine completed the fifth volume. Readers are again reminded that they may send forward their accumulated copies (May 1930 to March-April 1931 inclusive) for binding purposes. As hitherto, the volumes will be bound in cloth with gilt lettering, at a cost of 5/6 per volume. Those desirous of having their copies bound may hand them to the nearest stationmaster, who will transmit them free, with the sender's name endorsed on the parcel, to the Editor, New Zealand Railways Magazine, Wellington. When bound, the volumes will be returned to the forwarding stationmaster, who will collect the binding charge. In order to ensure expedition in the process of binding, copies should reach the Editor not later than 22nd July, 1931.page break