The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 6 (September 1, 1936)
Additions to — Rail-Car — Fleet — Further Successful Trials
Further Successful Trials.
The newest type of rail-car manufactured for the New Zealand Railways Department for use between Christchurch and Greymouth was tried out on 25th July on a trial run from Lambton to Palmerston North, and a trial was conducted on the following day of the second rail-car of the type to be used on the new service connecting Wellington, Masterton and Palmerston North.
The new Christchurch - Greymouth car, constructed at the Hutt Valley workshops, is a four-wheeled vehicle driven by a Leyland Diesel engine of 8.6 litre. It has six cylinders and a four-speed gear-box with drive on the rear axle. It has been especially constructed to meet the requirements of newspaper and passenger traffic on a night service between Christchurch and Greymouth. It carries 20 passengers and has a special compartment for the conveyance of morning newspapers from Christchurch to Greymouth under contract to land the papers at Greymouth about 7 o'clock on the morning of printing.
Though the vehicle is smaller, the build and general equipment of the Christchurch-Greymouth car are quite up to the standard set by the Maahunui, the Wairarapa type of car. A feature is the “dip” light thrown forward for convenience in drawing up to signals and in passing other trains. The outlook is thus very clear. One passenger on the trial trip described it as “like being in a glass box, with a view all round.”
A feature of the trial run was the very quiet movement of the engine which, in the course of a 200-mile trial, worked with wonderful smoothness.
The weight of the car is 7 tons 8 cwt. The engine has 48 h.p. (R.A.C. rating) and is capable of 95 horsepower at 1850 revolutions a minute.
The car is 25ft. long and has a wheelbase of 14ft. 6in. Among the attractive equipment is a folding card-table for the convenience of passengers on the night runs. The dashboard has the ordinary equipment of a motor-car including speedometer and light switches.
The performance of the car, using a special oil prepared for diesel engines, was exceptionally good, over 15 miles to the gallon being obtained for the average of the run, which included grades as steep as one in 57 at Pukerua. The car has a great reserve of power and flew up the steepest banks “like a bird.” Its maximum speed is about 50 miles an hour.
The second rail-car of the Maahunui (Wairarapa) type behaved splendidly throughout its trial run. This car, the Mahuhu (named after another of the famous early. Polynesian canoes), ran from Wellington to Palmerston North and return. Its performance was even better than that of the Maahunui, which has recently been so severely tested over all the principal lines of the North Island.
Beside technical officers and mechanics, the General Manager of Railways, Mr. G. H. Mackley, invited representatives of the Railway Officers’ Institute, who were in Wellington attending their annual conference, to make the trip, and at its conclusion Mr. E. W. Barnes, president of the Institute, expressed, on behalf of his fellow officers, great appreciation of the opportunity to see in actual operation one of the fleet of rail-cars.
Mr. Barnes said that experience of the rail-car had convinced the railway representatives drawn from all parts of the Dominion that rail-cars would revolutionise the system of passenger transport upon the railways of New Zealand.
Mr. Mackley, acknowledging the thanks of the Railway Officers’ Institute, made a point of the fact that the rail-cars were designed by the Department's own staff and that the work of manufacture had been carried out entirely by New Zealanders in their own workshops at Hutt. He said it was a tribute to their designing and manufacturing skill that cars of this type had been constructed, the best in the world, he believed, for the purpose for which they had been designed.page break
(Rly. Publicity photo.)
The Hon. D. G. Sullivan, Minister of Railways, and Mr. G. H. Mackley, General Manager of Railways, in the course of a tour of inspection by Rail-car through the North Island. (1) Turning at Auckland station; (2) verge of Waipoua Forest; (3) visitors at Auckland; (4) leaving Auckland station; (5) refreshment halt at Mercer; (6) business at Kaikohe County Council Chambers; (7) Ohakune; (8) the giant kauri, Waipoua Forest; (9) Taumarunui; (10) at Packakariki; (11) Waitakere. The Hon. Mr. Sullivan addressing school children; (12) on Papakurua turntable; (13) Piriaka; (14) Otaki; (15) Woodhill. Hon. D. G. Sullivan speaking: “Now, children, do you know what is the greatest thing in the world? It is kindness!”