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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 4 (July 1, 1938.)

Genii Of The Rail

Genii Of The Rail

There is magic in the motion of a locomotive and allure in the ring of metal upon metal as a train steers its course along the rail. Stephenson certainly “started something” when he showed the practicability of the steam locomotive for the efficient transport of passengers and goods. From that time, the genii of the rail have had a great time keeping a constant aura of enchantment over the operations of railways. It is their joy to suggest to engineers and architects, inventors and scientists, school-boys and plain business-men, lovely ladies and little children, ideas that could be put into effect for keeping the magic, the charm, and the romance of the rail up-to-date in every aspect; and railway authorities the world over are worked upon by the genii of the rail to make these ideas into warm and friendly realities.

These thoughts were suggested by finding at 5 o'clock on a recent wet, cold Sunday afternoon, that the only scene of animation to be found in the whole city of Wellington was the Railway Station.

Here may be seen at almost any hour, on almost any day, the following recipients of the blessings brought by the genii of the rail.

Hungry citizens, vying for pies at the highspeed cafeteria, or making a more leisurely meal in the regal Dining Hall.

Satisfied citizens, taking nicely-framed pictures of themselves at a shilling a shot.

Tired citizens, resting in comfortably-seated, pleasantly-warmed, and gracefully-furnished waiting rooms.

Active citizens, looking at illuminated scenes of favourite holiday haunts or obtaining news from “press the button” information machines.

Attentive citizens, listening to radio music or to dulcet-toned announcements of train arrivals and departures.

And last, there are the busy citizens, bustling about tickets, luggage, and the best ways to reach various destinations — for the Railway Station gives choice of train or bus, electric multiple-unit or rail-car, and you only have to step across the road to join a steamer express for the South Island or an ocean liner for the long sea lanes.

This is the real caravanserai that the genii of the rail have conjured up in the New Zealand days of this present time. Here is where you may bathe and shave and have your hair cut. Here you, the average traveller, may leave your children to be fed, and cared for, and amused, by highly trained nursing and kindergarten experts, while you make a care-free round of the city. Here is a resting room for mothers, where willing assistance is given by the attendants. Here you may buy what you desire in tobaccos, magazines, light drinks and sweets. And here the railway staff have the best of quarters for recreation and refreshment, which helps them to give you the best of service.

May the genii of the rail prove as tireless in the future as they have been in the past in happy ideas to add still further to the pleasures derived from the use of the rail.