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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 6 (September 2, 1935)

Modern Rail-Cars Ordered

Modern Rail-Cars Ordered.

New Fast Services for the Wellington-Palmerston North Route via the Wairarapa, and Night Services between Wellington and New Plymouth.

Developing an Idea.

Early in 1934 great interest was created by an unusual type of vehicle on the railway-lines at Wellington. This was a sedan-type rail-motor with flanged steel wheels, built to meet the requirements of the General Manager of Railways, Mr. G. H. Mackley, as an inspection car by means of which the administrative staff might carry out the work of railway inspection all over the Dominion with greater economy and efficiency than was possible previously.

The inspection car was also intended for use in major emergencies affecting the operation of the line to enable executive officers to reach the place affected with the utmost expedition at any hour of the day or night.

After completing 7,000 miles with the car over all the principal lines of the Dominion, Mr. Mackley found that the car, besides creating the keenest interest wherever it went, had more than met all expectations as an operating unit. It was proved to be capable of high speeds with complete safety, and gave a maximum of comfort to passengers, with comparatively low petrol consumption.

Amongst its major achievements was the demonstration that it could operate over the Rimutaka Incline without the use of “Fell” engines or centre rail at a speed which greatly minimized the disadvantages of that difficult stretch of country.

A Successful Experiment.

Although built with space to carry luggage and seated for a total of seven passengers in addition to the driver, this petrol-driven unit was not intended as a passenger-carrying car for commercial purposes, and consequently it was limited in size and other respects, to the immediate purposes for which it was required. However, sufficient experience of its utility under all conditions has been gained to prove its comfort, economy, and flexibility as a type of car well suited to replace passenger and light goods services in appropriate localities.

Following the successful introduction of this inspection rail-car, the Government Railways Board has now decided to have large passenger-carrying rail-cars built upon the same principle, but with special adaptations to meet the most exacting requirements of modern passenger transport, for use on the Wellington - Wairarapa - Palmerston North route, and also for night services between Wellington and New Plymouth.

Important Transport Development.

In making this announcement on behalf of the Government Railways Board recently, Mr. G. H. Mackley, General Manager of Railways, said that the present decision was regarded by the Board as a very important development in the transport of the Dominion, and he had no doubt that it would be so regarded by the public.

“After very complete investigations,” said Mr. Mackley, “both with the inspection rail-car and also regarding the use of rail-cars in other countries and the possibility of the economic adaptation of these units to the requirements of traffic on certain lines of our own system, the Board has decided to introduce petrol-driven rail-cars on the Wellington - Rimutaka - Palmerston North route for day service, and between]
Artist's impression of the type of petrol-driven rail-car which is to be used on the Wellington-Wairarapa Line, North Island, New Zealand.

Artist's impression of the type of petrol-driven rail-car which is to be used on the Wellington-Wairarapa Line, North Island, New Zealand.

Wellington and New Plymouth for night-running.

“Six rail-cars are to be used for the Wellington - Masterton - Palmerston North passenger service,” continued Mr. Mackley. “These cars will be of the most modern type, and will each seat 49 passengers. They will have lavatory accommodation and can each carry 1 ton of small parcels and luggage. The power will be provided by a 130 h.p. Leyland petrol-engine with torque converter driving on to the pair of rear wheels. The cars are of the sixwheeled type built for running in one direction only, with reverse gear for shunting en route and at terminals. They will be fitted with the very latest comfort-giving devices.”