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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 5 (September 1, 1927)

Where Road Transport Is Failing

page 33

Where Road Transport Is Failing.

The stream of motor vehicles seen on Sundays in such localities as the Hutt Road out of Wellington or the Great South Road out of Auckland is already becoming sufficiently congested to slow down the speed of all, and to make more of a leisurely, though anxiously controlled, procession of the afternoon's outing, than the swift untroubled ride it used to be.

Writing or conditions in the suburbs of London, a “Dominion” contributor makes the following comments:-

The transport problems are going to be more acute than ever this summer, and the establishment of “circuses” in London and of arterial by-passes outside London, are proving ineffective remedies against congestion. The scenes on the road last week-end were truly amazing. Every week thousands of new motorists are taking to the roads and the spell of warmth brought everybody out, with the result that for long stretches roads in the country were as congested as Piccadilly. The lovely road from Dorking to Leatherhead on Sunday was simply a double line of vehicles moving slowly forward in jerks, and observers on Box Hill could see the whole line of cars stretching from Dorking to Leatherhead, whose narrow streets were primarily the cause of the congestion. There was, however, one difference between these blocks and an ordinary traffic block in town. The motorists could relieve the tedium by gazing on one of the loveliest stretches of English countryside, which that day was at its greenest. Even when darkness came, a long line of vehicles was moving slowly homewards, and seen from the slopes of Box Hill, the cars with their headlights on turned the road into a glittering serpent. But what shall we do as the summer goes on is the problem. Motorists are all busy finding pleasant by-roads where they can amble at ease, but London cannot be regained without congestion being encountered at some point. It is astonishing how quickly a hold-up of traffic at one point leads to a block miles behind. When the Artillery Memorial was unveiled at Hyde Park corner last year, those who were making the arrangements consulted with the police as to the possibility of just stopping the traffic for ten minutes while the brief service was being held. The reply of the police experts was that to stop the traffic at Hyde Park corner, even for only ten minutes on a Sunday would mean a line of stationary vehicles stretching, perhaps, as far as Kent Bridge, seven miles away. The Railway Companies are watching with interest the failure of the roads to carry the traffic, and there seems little doubt that many people will find this summer that the rail has an advantage over the car.

Class N “Baldwin” locomotive, formerly used on express trains in New Zealand.

Class N “Baldwin” locomotive, formerly used on express trains in New Zealand.