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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 8 (January 15, 1927)

Building Up New Traffic

page 24

Building Up New Traffic

With a view to testing the possibilities of week-end traffic in the Auckland District the Commercial Branch recently made arrangements for the running of excursion trains to Waitomo Caves and Rotorua on the same day. So successful was the initial experiment that it is proposed to provide a series of similar excursions throughout the summer months.

Reporting on this new feature of railway activity in the north the “New Zealand Herald” has the following:—

To Rotorua.—“The first Sunday excursion train from Hamilton to Rotorua proved a great success.
Tongariro Nationaal Park, North Island

Tongariro Nationaal Park, North Island

Notwithstanding that rain had fallen all night at Hamilton, and was still falling when the train left for Rotorua, there were 120 passengers from Hamilton. Before the train arrived at Rotorua there were between 500 and 600 passengers. The train was composed of 14 carriages and was drawn by two engines of the heavy (Ab) type. As the train travelled south the weather improved. It is stated by the officials that had the weather been favourable the traffic would have been difficult to handle.

“This train was an experiment and the Railway Department will no doubt be encouraged to arrange for more excursions of this nature. Crowds visited Whakare-warewa and trips were made to the Fairy Springs and other sights. Launches were also run on the lake. The train arrived in Rotorua at 10.30 a.m. and left on the return journey at 4.30 p.m.”

To Waitomo.—“Over 250 passengers left Auckland for Waitomo yesterday morning on the first of the series of special excursion trains which the Railway Department propose running during the summer months.

“The motor bus service from Hangatiki to the caves accommodated all the passengers, who, favoured by fine weather, spent a most enjoyable day.”

Mr. A. W. Wellsted, Business Agent for the Auckland District, accompanied the Waitomo party. He reports that the refreshment rooms at Frankton were open, and that most of the passengers partook of the usual ham sandwich and cup of tea.

On arrival at Hangatiki the motor cars and buses, which had been arranged for by the Department, rapidly filled, and, within a very short space of time, the excursionists were on their way to the caves.

Arrived at Waitomo, the Hostel Manager (Mr. Cook), assisted by a number of guides, despatched parties to the various caves, and the visitors commenced their inspection of Waitomo, Ruakuri, and Aranui By 5 p.m. practically everyone had finished their sightseeing, and the cars commenced to run them back to Hangatiki station, the train leaving on its homeward journey at 6.20 p.m.

The passengers were most enthusiastic in their praise regarding what had been seen, and were very complimentary in their references to the Department for the enterprise shown in running the train.

Day excursion fares were charged, the second return fare from Auckland being 12s. 6d. for the 120 miles to Hangatiki. The motor fare to Waitomo was 5s. and the caves fee was at the rate of 2s. per cave. It will thus be seen that the outing was inexpensive, a factor which no doubt contributed much to its popularity.

A word spoken in quietnes and by way of appeal to the free judgment and reason of men can rarely fail to be in season.

* * * *

Wisdom consists, not in seeing what is directly before us, but in discerning those things which may come to pass.