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

Railway Progress in New Zealand. — General Manager's Message

page 8

Railway Progress in New Zealand.
General Manager's Message.

July, 1938, will be memorable in the history of the New Zealand Railways as the month in which both electric multiple-unit trains, and the standard type of rail-car, were first introduced in New Zealand.

The official inauguration of the multiple unit service, arranged for July 2nd, followed by the commencement of regular schedules on July 4th with fifty-two trains each way daily on the Wellington-Johnsonville seven miles of suburban railway, are important stages in the general development of railway transport to and from the Capital City.

The progress of the Department had been held up for years through the inconvenience and disadvantages associated with the two old and unrelated stations at Wellington. It is just over a year since the new Wellington station was opened and regular traffic commenced via the Tawa Flat deviation. The benefit of that development has already been strongly felt. It has helped in a marked degree to increase the amenities at Wellington itself and to popularise the services on the Main Trunk and Wairarapa lines.

Electric traction for all traffic between Wellington and Paekakariki is the next stage in this movement towards completion of the plans for better railway facilities to and from Wellington, and for through transport between various portions of both Islands.

The new standard rail-cars, now fast approaching completion, will add further to the attractions of rail travel in the localities where they operate as well as in those to and from which they will afford better connections, while certain important duplications now in hand, and additional power units under construction or on order, together with the new and improved passenger and goods rolling-stock being built, will help to speed up general traffic and give greater satisfaction to all railway users.

The Johnsonville electrification is important, not merely for the remarkable improvement it makes possible in the comfort, frequency and speed of transport over this many-tunnelled, steeply graded, short section of suburban line, but as an indication of the improvement in the quality of the service the Department has provided in recent years.

The recent improvements and modernisation at the heart of the railway system is having favourable reactions on the outlying districts, as congestion is removed and the flow of traffic expedited by the improved facilities. The Johnsonville line, for instance, could never have been given the splendid suburban rail service it is now to receive while it was part of the Main Trunk Line; and the fact that, until the Tawa Flat deviation became available, the suburban traffic of the Johnsonville area had to be worked over the single Main Trunk Line, was a constant source of inconvenience to the passengers and difficulty to the Department in dealing with heavy suburban and long distance traffic over the same line.

Railwaymen appreciate the improvements made quite as much as do the public, as the more modern facilities enable the staff to render still better service to the people who look to the Railway Department to meet their transport needs.

General Manager.