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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 2 (June 1, 1933)

The Way of the Rail — Notes of the Month

page 60

The Way of the Rail
Notes of the Month

Week-End tripping by train has never been more popular in Taranaki than during recent months. Twice there were train-loads of a thousand passengers, and from January to April the average number on the week-end excursion trains was 400 per trip. Good weather, low fares, excellent coaches, suitable timing, and powerful locomotives have all exercised their beneficent pull upon the people of the great dairying province towards these healthful and change-giving outings.

* * *

The powerful new “K” locomotives are every day proving their worth on the New Zealand Railways—but in an emergency they are priceless. This was proved when on the night succeeding Anzac Day, when an accumulation of travellers at Auckland wanted to reach Wellington in a hurry, the “Limited,” headed by a “K” set off with two cars and a sleeper more than the former “limit” of the “Limited.”

* * *

A correspondent calls attention to yet another free accident insurance scheme which bases its chief benefit upon the safety of rail travel. This is the “Auckland Star,” and its announcement offers £2000 if the reader be killed in a train as against £150 if killed in the home. Applying the Mark Twain method of calculation, it is thus more than twelve times safer to travel by train than to stay at home. Here we have just another warning against spending holidays at home when good excursion trains are running.

* * *

John Aye has just produced a book, “Humour on the Rail,” which contains some new gems. Among these are the Irish porter who moistened the gum on labels with his tongue. When asked by the English traveller: “Don't you keep a brush for the purpose?” he replied “No, your Honour; our tongue is the only instrument we are allowed to use.” And then there was the dazed passenger who wanted a ticket. “Yes, sir, what station please?” said the booking clerk. “Well, what stations have you got?” was the reply.

* * *

The autumn meeting of the Wellington Racing Club at Trentham this year shewed a pronounced improvement in the numbers carried by rail. The attendance at the races was about what it was the previous year, but the number of train passengers rose from 3600 to 5200. This year a universal fare between Wellington and Trentham of 5/-, for carriages only, replaced last year's discriminate rates of 5/- for cars and 4/- for seated wagons. The change certainly pleased the public. The result, a 100 per cent. increase in revenue for the Department.

* * *

The Arthur's Pass National Park Board has been impressed by the success of railway excursions to that area. The Board's annual report states that last winter the ten train excursions to the Pass carried 2515 passengers. The lure of the mountains and the joy of ski-ing are keenly felt by the plainsfolk of Canterbury. The Board has provided a toboggan run, and the Ski Club is working with them in the erection of a mountain hut. In Christchurch recently, Mr. W. D. Fraser, engine-driver at Otira, has been delivering lantern lectures on the Park. These lectures have provided valuable publicity for the Railway excursions to this favourite playground of Canterbury and Westland, and a recent letter to Mr. Fraser from the General Manager expressed the Department's appreciation of this good work.