The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 1 (April 1, 1939)
Taranaki Railcars Timetable Scheduling for All — A Popular Service (Railway Publicity photos.)
Taranaki Railcars Timetable Scheduling for All
A Popular Service (Railway Publicity photos.)
How can Taranaki, the rich North Island dairying district over which Mount Egmont presides, have the best possible use of the new standard type of railcars now made available by Railway enterprise?
This was, in effect, the problem set the Railway Administration and, through it, the various civic authorities, associations and other representatives of the people in the Province most nearly concerned.
The General Manager of Railways (Mr. G. H. Mackley) took the most direct course to discover and clarify public opinion.
The object was to arrange a through run between New Plymouth and Wellington which would enable visits to either centre to be made with the least loss of business time. For travel not specially concerned with this aspect the day-time express services, of course, meet general requirements. The Department submitted alternative schedules for the railcar to the local bodies and interests along the route affected—an “A” timetable that got travellers to the terminal at either end near midnight, and a “B” timetable that landed them in time for breakfast, after the 251 miles run.
The consensus of opinion amongst the authorities consulted was so strongly in favour of the “A” or “evening” timetable in preference to the “B” or “all night” run that, following a demonstration trip on the 15th March from Wellington (dept. 5.13 p.m.) to New Plymouth (arrive 12.50 a.m.) a public meeting called by the New Plymouth Chamber of Commerce and attended by representatives and spokesmen from all the area between Wanganui and New Plymouth voted unanimously in favour of the “A” or evening schedule.
Of this preliminary run under service conditions the “Wanganui Herald” said:
A group of representatives who attended the meeting at New Plymouth. Seated (left to right) Mr. G. T. Wilson (Superintendent of Transportation, N.Z.R.), Mr. F. L. Frost (M.P. for New Plymouth), Mr. E. C. Hayton (Chairman, New Plymouth Chamber of of Commerce), Mr. J. H. F. Cotterill, (M.P. for Wanganui), and Mr. G. H. Mackley, C.M.G. (General Manager of Railways).
From Sunday, the 16th April, standard railcars will leave New Plymouth on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3.40 p.m. (Wellington arrive 11.40 p.m.) and from Monday, 17th April they will leave Wellington at 5.13 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and arrive New Plymouth at 12.50 next morning.
An important feature of the new railcar service, from the visitor's aspect, is that, without loss of ordinary working time, one may travel from Wellington to New Plymouth on Friday night, have Saturday and the greater part of Sunday in the district and be back in Wellington on Sunday evening.
Those who are aware of the charms along the route of the New Plymouth line from Marton, touching amongst other places of interest those progressive civic centres of Wanganui, Patea, Hawera, Eltham, Stratford and Inglewood, will realise the opportunities provided by this new service for visiting in this great dairying area. New Plymouth alone is an unfailing magnet as a garden city of great beauty and historical interest, but when Mt. Egmont is added with its mountain houses (reached from Hawera, Stratford and New Plymouth) and its gracious range of scenic attractions, its sports and its pastimes, the appeal of Taranaki to the traveller becomes irresistible—given suitable transport. This the standard type of railcar provides in the most pleasing form. But its main achievement will be in the closer industrial ties between the Capital City and Taranaki which the convenient timetables of the new railcar service make possible.
Obituary Mr. J. W. Davidson, C.M.G.
Former Commissioner for Railways of Queensland.
New Zealand railwaymen will learn with regret of the passing, on March 2nd, of Mr. J. W. Davidson, C.M.G., late Commissioner for Railways of Queensland. Mr. Davidson retired from that position in March of last year and soon after, with Mrs. Davidson, left on an extended tour of Britain. His enjoyment of the trip, however, was marred somewhat by the state of his health which became steadily worse after his return to Australia. A few weeks later he passed away at his home in Brisbane.
In Mr. Davidson's death, Australia has lost a valuable authority on railway transport. He was closely associated with the Queensland Railways for forty-eight years, and played a large part in bringing the organisation to its present state of efficiency. He was also an outstanding figure on the administrative side of the railways of the Commonwealth, having been senior commissioner at inter-State conferences for many years.
When Mr. Davidson joined the service there were only 2,205 miles in Queensland's railway system. More than 1000 miles were built during his period as Commissioner. In his record term as head of the department he encountered many industrial disputes, but handled them with tact and discretion, and the rank and file of the service had a kindly opinion of him.
He was reappointed for five years in 1928, and the Government renewed its confidence in his administration with two more extensions. In 1932 the order of C.M.G. was conferred upon him in recognition of his long and useful service.
Tributes to Mr. Davidson's career were paid by members of the Queensland Government and by prominent railway officers in Australia and New Zealand.
“Mr. Davidson was a man of high ideals and great ability,” said Mr. G. H. Mackley, C.M.G., General Manager of the New Zealand Railways. “In the devotion of his lifetime work to the Queensland railways he has left a monument of an enduring kind; his labours were for the public benefit, and the fruits of those labours are seen in the great development which is Queensland's.
“I join with the members of the New Zealand Railways Service in extending to Mrs. Davidson and family our deepest sympathy in their great loss.”