The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 1 (April 1, 1936.)
The “Red Terror”
The “Red Terror”
Apart from the essentially business aspect of the General Manager's rail-car in providing rapid transport over the lines of the Dominion, it performs a valuable service in cementing the family relationship between the management and the staff. The rail-car's uses on the human side are Indicated In the following short article by “We of the” ‘Never Never.“'
Not so long ago there was built at the Hutt Valley Workshops a motor railcar of modern design and pleasing appearance, with massive flange wheels for the rails.
I remember the trial runs. Packed full of the Heads, records were established over the Rimutakas. Reilly, of the staff, who had watched her tear through the station with an easy sway at the points, picking up speed again as the straight was entered, and somehow giving an impression of power and speed held in leash, exclaimed: “A blooming Phar Lap! The ‘Red Terror!” that's what she is.” The name was good, and it stuck. To railwaymen all over New Zealand the General Manager's car is now known by no other name.
It wouldn't surprise me a bit to receive a train advice headed “Red Terror,” Wellington, Napier, etc. —a better heading, surely, than “B10 will run as under,” for it would add Romance to the Rail.
But what is the use of the “Red Terror”? There is no doubt that the car is proving of great value not only to the General Manager but to others. The former Prime Minister, Mr. Forbes, travelled in the rail-car from Wellington to Napier, addressed a conference there and returned to Wellington the same night. He spoke in glowing terms of this mode of travel. The General Manager can get over the system with an ease hitherto unobtainable.
To-day, Sunday, the General Manager and party were running through a station which had only once previously been visited by the “Red Terror.” I took my wife and our infant daughter down to the crossing behind the ganger's house. On the embankment were the ganger's wife and children. The stationmaster's wife was also there, and further down in the cutting were grouped the surfaceman's chubby youngsters—quite a reception committee in fact.
Right on time, down swooped the “Terror,” and to the great delight of the children their waving handkerchiefs were answered from both sides of the car. Not mere indolent waves, either, but good, hearty ones. Not only the children, however, were delighted. That hand-wave was an interview with the General Manager to me. I was closer to him then than I have ever been, or will probably ever be.
He waved to me and the children and we waved back. We watched “The Terror” round the curve, then wended our way home to plant the rest of the potatoes, and as I dug I thought: “If the ‘Red Terror’ can bring that friendly feeling to the majority of the staff, the car will indeed be another Phar Lap, worth it's weight in gold.”
Thank you, Mr. General Manager and party, for your kindly greeting at a wayside country station.