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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 8 (December 1, 1927)

In The Waikato. — Workers' Educational Association

page 39

In The Waikato.
Workers' Educational Association

It is not at all impossible that a man, always studying one subject, will view the general affairs of the world through the coloured prism of his own atmosphere.”

The above quotation is taken from a speech in the House of Commons, in 1847, by the Earl of Beaconsfield.

With a view to widening their knowledge of current affairs and acquiring a broader outlook on life, forty-five members of the Railway Department at Frankton Junction and Hamilton (including members of all branches of the service) formed a class under the auspices of the W. E. A. The class was thoroughly democratic and cosmopolitan, embracing salaried and wage earning employees, the men who deal with trains and the tradesmen, also employees from the sawmill and house factory.

Owing to the abnormal irregularity of the hours of work prevailing at Frankton Junction it was not easy to fix suitable times to suit all for meetings, but by a spirit of compromise and goodwill on the part of all concerned, movable dates and times were adopted which gave the greatest facilities that were possible under the circumstances.

This was the first experience that our members had of the movement and consequently the W. E. A. was on its trial. The interest and enthusiasm which was aroused, however, grew in volume as the season progressed, and all were sorry when the end came. Our members are looking forward with keen anticipation to next season's meetings and discussions.

Two series of lectures were given, the first by Mr. T. N. Pemberton, M. A., F. R. E. S. on economic questions-dealing with “General Economics,” “Land,” “Labour,” “Wages,” “Co-operation and Co-partnership,” “Banking and Foreign Exchange.”

It has been said that economics is a dismal science, but the skilful and interesting manner in which Mr. Pemberton handled the matters dealt with showed that it need not be so. Question time gave evidence of careful following of the lectures and study.

Six lectures by Mr. N. M. Richmond, B. A. on matters of current history, followed. He dealt with the situation in Russia (past and present), various problems of the Pacific area, affairs in China and Japan (showing their bearing on the problems of to-day, of the future, and how we in New Zealand and Australia are concerned).

Mr. Richmond proved himself to be an able lecturer and possessed of a good grasp of his subjects. The class again, during question times, showed its interest and evidence of wide reading.

We regret very much that we are losing the services of Mr. Richmond who is moving to Auckland to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Mr. L. A. Mander, M. A. who has accepted an appointment in U. S. A. He takes with him our very best wishes in his new sphere of labour.

The Department, in consideration of the good work done among the railway men in this district, has very generously donated ten pounds towards the funds of the Association.

Hamilton is the centre and headquarters of the Waikato District of the W. E. A. whose activities extend northward to Huntly, southward to Te Kuiti, and to Cambridge, Matamata, Waihi, Thames, and intermediate towns. In some localities classes of over one hundred were formed, a wide range of subjects being covered.

The season having now closed we are looking forward to the holding of the Summer School which, this year, will be held in Hamilton during the last week of December.

Several prominent and able lecturers from Auckland will deliver lectures on economics, history and literature. Visits to various places of interest and industrial concerns will be arranged, also excursions on the beautiful Waikato River, to Arapuni (the site of the big hydro-electric power scheme) and the wonderful Waitomo Caves, are possible. As anything of an academic or theoretical nature will be avoided in the lectures they should appeal to all sections of the community and a large attendance is confidently anticipated.

page 40

A Peculiar Locomotive.
(N. Blake, Hamilton Railways.)

The sketch drawing reproduced on this page shows a queer type of triple-boiler locomotive built for the Belgian State Railways many years ago. Presumably the object of the design was to obtain added efficiency by employing three separate boilers instead of one big one. The engine was of the tender type and had outside frames.

When built the engine ran very well. The wheel arrangement was of the 2–4–2 type, the cylinders being arranged inside between the frames. The highest speed attained was from 60 to 62 m.p.h. on the level, and a fair load was hauled for an express engine in those days.

Triple-boiler locomotive as built by the Belgium State Railways.

Triple-boiler locomotive as built by the Belgium State Railways.

As might be expected, however, trouble soon arose when the engine was tried on general service work. Unequal temperatures in one or other of the boilers would cause it to expand or contract irrespective of the other two boilers. The result was leaky tubes, boiler plates and strained fireboxes.

The cost of building and maintenance was also very much higher than a steam locomotive of normal type, nor was there any apparent gain in either thermal efficiency, horse power or speed over the regular type of railway engine. It is not surprising therefore, that the engine was scrapped after a few years' service, and, needless to say, no more of this class were built.

A twin boiler locomotive of similar design was built for a Continental railway at a later date. It also was a failure, so the type was not perpetuated.

Making up Lost Time.

Attention has again been focussed on the question whether or not locomotive engine drivers should be issued definite instructions to make up lost time on the road. It is contended by some who claim to speak with authority in these matters, that late train running is a possible cause of accidents. This view was, however, characterised by the Chairman of the London and North Eastern Railway Company (Mr. William Whitelaw) as “nonsense from top to bottom.”

Replying on behalf of his Company to the questions asked by Lord Monkswell, as to whether drivers would be given definite orders to make up time, and whether the speed of all express trains serving the principal points of the system would be increased to sixty miles per hour, the Chairman answered both questions in the negative.

“We will,” he said, “as we do, leave to our magnificent engine drivers, than whom there is no finer body of men in this country, the decision as to whether or not they should make up time. They will take into consideration whether they are running up-hill, or down-hill, whether they are approaching a severe curve, or going on a straight road; whether the section that they are on is a long section or a short section, what is the state of the weather, and so forth; matters upon which the engine drivers alone can at the moment form a sound and proper conclusion… If he (Lord Monkswell) were correct in saying that late trains cause danger of accidents (and he is hopelessly wrong), it would follow that no special train could ever be put upon the line without causing danger to the travelling public. I say deliberately that in my judgment he is talking nonsense from top to bottom.”