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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 3 (July 24, 1926)

Current Comments

page 17

Current Comments

An Echo Of The Commission.

Sir Vincent L. Raven, K.B.E., who, with Sir Sam Fay, formed the Commission which reported on the New Zealand Railways last year, in speaking before the Institution of Mechanical Engineers made some striking references to New Zealand. He described it as a country which by Nature is gifted with every means for producing the primary necessities of life in the way of agricultural and pastoral productions, and is capablc of finding employment for many millions more people in its rich and productive soil, “It is,” he said, “a country which must be attractive to every Briton, so like his native land, if anything more beautiful, and with a much better climate—a country being governed and organised so as to make it attractive to live in. There is a field for British capital, and it could and should find space and work for our overcrowded country to-day.”

Voluntary acts that are the result of mutual understanding and consideration, are superior in quality and likely to be more lasting than imposed duties (writes Ernest I. Lewis of the Interstate Commerce Commission, in an interesting symposium of the views of Railway executives in the Annual Statistical Number of the “Railway Age”). The best form of Government is that which is called upon to exercise its powers least but which imparts ideals and creates conditions for that understanding which leads to voluntary action. The only worth while public relations work is that which establishes character and a reputation for good service, goodwill, fair dealing, courtesy, sincerity and broad public concern. Personal contact is a great factor. Public service corporations which are most successful seem to be those whose directing heads are known to be approachable, who have and who exercise a broad interest in affairs, and who permeate their organisations with their anti-quibbling spirit. As applied to regulatory bodies the term “public relations” involves the performance of our duties in such a way as to merit public esteem, impart assurance and maintain and increase confidence.

Public Relations.

Railway officers feel a deep responsibility to an enlightened public opinion (says W. W. Atterbury, President Pennsylvania Railroad System). They feel that they are trustees for vast interests. It puts life, spirit and enthusiasm into the men in charge of the affairs of railroads. They have a high regard for the welfare of that great army of employees devoting their lives to the railroad servics. Their responsibility is great, and when that responsibility is exercised with a knowledge that its discharge in a spirit of fidelity to all interests will be encouraged and supported by Government and Public, the possibilities of continued and substantial progress are increased beyond estimate. The foregoing is fundamental. Upon such foundations we can build a railroad structure upon which the public can rely. All also is detail.

Railway Workers As University Students.

Two young railway mechanics, W. S. Wildman and Sidney Smith, have left their benches at the L.M.S.R. works at Wolverton to become students at Liverpool University (says the Railway Gazette). They have been awarded university scholarships in exceptional circumstances. They entered the railway shops at 14 years of age, and for no fewer than seven years in succession have been bracketed as equal for first place in the annual examinations held by the Union of Educational Institutions. Eventually they tied in the recent examination for the Sir Richard Moon scholarship, a railway scholarship of £80 a year, tenable for three years at Liverpool University. An extra examination was conducted by the University authorities to see which of the two candidates was the better. Again they tied as being of equal merit. The railway directors reviewed the position. To split the scholarship between the two candidates would not have enabled either to attend the University. The directors, therefore, decided, much to the satisfaction of the two candidates, who are firm friends, to award an extra scholarship to enable both of them to go to the University