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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 7 (November 1, 1927)

Editorial — Better Service

page 2

Better Service.

In this issue we have pleasure in publishing tributes by members of Parliament to the work of the Railway staff, who, since reorganisation took place, have developed a keenness for business and a “better service” spirit which has surprised their competitors and given satisfaction to their supporters.

The effect of separating the Railway accounts from the Consolidated Fund and treating the Railways as one self-contained unit, with modern accounting methods applied to balance-sheet preparation, has been to make members realise more clearly than would otherwise be possible, the extent to which the security of their present occupation and their future chances of progress depended upon the way in which the individual performance and management of each job was carried out, and the efficiency of their co-operative effort in producing increased transport at reduced unit cost.

The whole fabric of the complex organisation which goes to the make-up of our system has been changed in recent years. But in nothing has the change been more marked than in the business sense which members have developed in dealing with the public. The letters of appreciation we publish monthly indicate how general and widespread is the effect of this attitude and furnish some index of the extent to which it serves to sway public favour towards rail methods of transport. The confirmation now given by members of Parliament as a result both of their own experience in travelling and also of conclusions formed from the reports of their constituents, puts the hall-mark of success on the service efforts of the Railway staff.

Along with this development is found an increasing confidence on the part of the public in the capacity of the Railways to carry them with a maximum of safety and comfort, matters which are becoming of greater moment as the dangers attendant on highway travel and the inconvenience of the necessarily more or less cramped quarters provided on road vehicles are increasingly realised.

The foregoing does not mean, of course, that the service has reached a point of perfection where members may lie back on their oars with the idea that the race is over. It is only a clear indication that in the opinion of the watchers on the bank the Railways are shaping well and look like winners.

In transportation, as in other lines of business, it is only by being constantly on the alert to adopt the best methods and carry through the work in the best style that survival is possible. It is therefore decidedly cheering to find that, up to the present stage in reorganisation, the work performed by the service holds so high a place in the esteem of the people's representatives.

page 3

Traffic Control.

The work of installing selective telephones and other necessary mechanical aids on the sections between Wellington and Marton (116 miles) and between Christchurch and Oamaru (152 miles) is well advanced, and it is hoped to be able to institute the latest Traffic Control System on these sections of our lines before this year is out.

In view of the adoption of the principle of Traffic Control on our lines, it is interesting to have particulars of how the traffic control system is succeeding in South Australia. Mr. W. A. Webb, Chief Commissioner of the South Australian Railways has supplied figures to the “Railway Gazette” showing that an increase of one mile or more per hour in speed, equal to a saving of one hour per trip, has been obtained on the Cockburn line of their Peterborough division. Approximately, 3,600 trains are run on this section per annum, roughly 300 per month, which makes a saving of 3,600 hours-the equal of, approximately, £4,170 -while the saving in train crews represents, approximately, £1,456 per annum; a total of £5,626 per annum.

The additional cost of the introduction of traffic control, in salaries and interest on capital cost of traffic control circuits, amounts to £3,126 per annum, so that the net saving per annum is equivalent to 17.5 per cent. on the capital investment, quite apart, of course, from the incalculable advantage to the travelling public and traders in time saved. These are big figures, but they are proved by similar examples of economies effected on other railways, and should suffice to show that the development of traffic control schemes in suitable localities can abundantly be justified by the results achieved. Apart, also, from the question of savings, the real knowledge as to the position at various points on the line is of inestimable advantage to the railway operating officers responsible.

Progress of Ambulance.

The organisation of ambulance classes throughout the New Zealand Railways was put in hand only a few short months ago. The response has been truly wonderful. Already over 2,200 students are enrolled, and now comes word that up to the present over 600 have passed their First Aid examination.

The lectures given are of the highest order, the best available medical practitioners lending their assistance, whilst Red Cross Societies and the St. John Ambulance centres have joined enthusiastically in helping along the work. Practical benefits have already been reported from many places.

New Zealand Preferred.

Speaking at the Accountants' Reunion Mr. A. W. Hutchings, Otaki, expressed keen appreciation of New Zealand life and conditions.

“He would” he said, “tell New Zealanders that theirs was the best country in the world and he had visited Australia, Tasmania, South Africa, England, Wales, Scotland, France, Italy, Sicily, Switzerland and Belgium. Accompanied by his wife they had made no mere ru[gap — reason: illegible] of their tour, but [gap — reason: illegible] taken plenty of time at each place. His wife was an accomplished linguist and thus had been able to talk to all manner of people. They had gone walking back into the country districts, doing ten or fifteen miles a day, seeing and talking to the working people of the various countries, and examining the conditions under which they lived. After gaining this inside information he could assure them that we in New Zealand were particularly fortunate in our country and living conditions. Nowhere had he seen people so happy, well clothed and well fed as in New Zealand. With all the talk about other countries he could assure them that New Zealand was equal to the best of them.

Referring to the Continental ambition “to winter in the South of France,” he said that here in New Zealand we had “an equally good climate; our sea was just as blue, our sun was just as warm as theirs; and our people were nicer, cleaner, more wholesome and happy than those found in other lands.” (Applause.)

Railway Enterprise Appreciated.
The Rotorua Excursion.

The following letter has been received from Mr. W. A. S. McLean, Town Clerk, Rotorua:—

My Committee were very pleased with the arrangements which were made for the week-end excursion and have asked me to express their appreciation of the action of your Department in running this excursion, and their hopes that it may be possible to repeat them at regular intervals.

I am advised by a member of our Committee that the description of the excursion over the radio was very fine.