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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 6, Issue 5 (November 2, 1931)

Last Minute Orders

Last Minute Orders.

When all is in readiness, a call is made at the office of the foreman by both the driver and fireman to learn if there are any special orders that concern them on the run they are about to undertake. Although safety is assured under the signalling system, there may be special instructions regarding speeds over certain sections, owing to slips or some other such trouble. Too, there may be special trains running which disturb the routine of the track. Forewarned and forearmed, the driver runs his engine out into the yard. It is like a groomed and spirited horse ready for the test. It takes air and is coupled up with the carriages that have been marshalled in the meantime by the shunting gang. The adjusting of the Westinghouse brake is watched by the train examiner, who makes sure that the brakes are thoroughly released so that there will be no extra drag on the wheels caused by faulty adjustment.

It is necessary also that “the man with the hammer” shall do his part by “ringing” the tyres of the wheels of the train in search of flaws, since a loose tyre may be the cause of a big derailment. As he goes about this job he feels with one hand the axle boxes that may be overheated.

Passengers are now taking their seats and bidding last farewells with all the last minute rush that is generally the case on a railway station. “All seated, please!” A clanging of gates, a closing of windows, a scream from the engine, and the long journey has begun, the “Limited” is away.