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

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page 16

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The World's Railway Mileage.

Some interesting statistics concerning the railway mileage of the various countries of the world are given in a recent Bulletin of the International Railway Congress Association. The figures are for the year 1924. At the end of that year the total railway mileage of the world is set down at 758,319 miles—an increase of about 7,000 miles over 1923. America (North and South) heads the list with 372,913 miles of track, whilst Europe comes second with 237,669 miles. Europe, however, has the highest ratio of railway per 100 square miles of area—6.9 miles. Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand combined, have 147,737 miles of track. Australia has the highest ratio per thousand inhabitants—22.4' miles. The British Empire possesses slightly less than a quarter of the world's total railway mileage, its quota being 165,401 miles, while the United States possesses almost one third of the total in its 250,971 miles. New Zealand's 3,164 miles of track open for traffic looks small in comparison.

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Woman And Railway Work.

The expanding sphere of woman's activities is one of the most interesting features of contemporary life. Gone forever is the Victorian conception of the limitation of womanly vocation to the arts of domesticity. In science, medicine, law and the industrial arts, she is to-day taking her place in the work of adding to the happiness and advancement of the race.

Apropos of this subject an interesting investigation was recently carried out at the suggestion of the Woman's Bureau of the Department of Labour of the United States, of the number of women employed in railway service in that country. In 1926, on the Class 1 steam railways, there were 61,302 women employed as compared with 40,052 in 1920. Clerical and semi-clerical positions naturally absorbed the largest number of women workers, no less than 51,127 being engaged in such occupations last year. In addition to these there were two engaged in train operation, 290 in shop work, 3,332 in cleaning work, whilst those engaged as waitresses, laundresses, etc., and as telegraph and telephone operators, number 1,814 and 1,427 respectively. Of the total staff of some 1,800,000 employed on the railways of the United States approximately one-thirtieth are woman workers. In Great Britain the proportion of woman workers to the total railway staff is somewhat similar—23,334 women being employed out of a total staff of 690,000. Of the women employed on British railways 9,350 fill positions on the clerical and technical staffs, 4,000 are engaged in cleaning work of various kinds, 6,540 in hotels, refreshment rooms, dining rooms, waiting rooms, etc., 1,531 as crossing-keepers and 1,320 as shop and artisan employees. The women workers on the New Zealand Railways number (approximately) 300—employed mostly as shorthand typists, waitresses, etc.,—out of a total staff of over 18,000.

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Suggestions and Inventions in Britain.

In a recent interesting reference (in the Great Western Railway Magazine) to the activities of the Suggestions and Inventions Committee of the Great Western Railway, Sir Felix Pole, General Manager, mentioned that for the year ended 31st March last 3,525 suggestions were received by the Committee (which number included some brought forward from the previous year) and that 15.17 per cent. of these were adopted by the Company. The general standard of the suggestions were, he said, higher than usual and there was an increased sum of money distributed in monetary awards to employees.

The suggestions covered almost all phases of railway operations-traffic arrangements, mechanical and engineering appliances, signalling, signalling appliances and miscellaneous items.

The Committee was established in 1913 since which year no less than 29,698 suggestions have been submitted.

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Goods Train On The Main Trunk Line. From a painting by H. Berry-a 16-year old apprentice employed at Petone Workshops.

Goods Train On The Main Trunk Line.
From a painting by H. Berry-a 16-year old apprentice employed at Petone Workshops.