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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 9 (January 1, 1928)

The Wanganui “Chronicle” on a recent Excursion. — Week-Ending by Rail

page 24

The Wanganui “Chronicle” on a recent Excursion.
Week-Ending by Rail.

The Wanganui “Chronicle,” in a striking editorial, draws attention to the success attending the Department's latest innovation in the direction of popularising week-ending by rail. The article runs as follows:—

“The complete success of the Wellington to Wanganui railway excursion at the week-end just past is a good pointer to one way of popularising the railways, probably with profit to the Railway Department. An organised system of such excursions running on the various sections all over the Dominion could, indeed, be made a feature of our railway operation, and if well handled, could be made to show a material addition to the railway revenue. It is true that there has been a certain amount of experiment in the same direction, but it has not been made a matter of general policy. Something more than cheap fares is required to induce the public to patronise such excursions to the point where they can be undertaken on a wholesale scale.

Fireworks display in Wanganui on the night of the excursion.

Fireworks display in Wanganui on the night of the excursion.

“There must first of all be an attractive objective and of these there are plenty. The four chief centres, of course, are a draw to the people of the provinces. But outside of them, there are numerous places to which week-end excursions could be run—the Bay of Islands, Whangarei and its harbour, Rotorua, Napier, New Plymouth and Mt. Egmont, Wanganui and its river, to mention only a few. If regular excursions to such points were conducted on the same businesslike lines as marked Saturday's Wellington-Wanganui excursion, there is little reason to anticipate anything but an equal success.

“To transport a crowd of people to a given point and then dump them out to shift for themselves—which has been the method in past years—is no way to achieve a success.” The modern tourist expects things done for him and looks to the tourist agency to fill his time. The Railway Department grasped this fact on Saturday last. Hotel accommodation was arranged for and complete arrangements made for sight-seeing and for pleasant occupation of the time once the passengers reached Wanganui. The consequence was that no one was at a loose end, every minute was filled, information was at hand when needed, and everybody's comfort and pleasure were assured. As a result the excursionists went home well pleased, each one a walking advertisement, not only for the Wanganui trip, but for the thoughtfulness and good organisation of the Railway Department.

“Now that the Department has shown that it knows how to handle such a job, there is no reason why such trips should not be a feature of week-ends all over the Dominion. Even apart from the question of financial profit, they would help to make the railways more popular, a real consideration in these days when they have to meet severe competition. The advantage, too, of giving the public every opportunity of moving about their own country and seeing its attractions is too obvious to need emphasis. The Department is certainly to be complimented on the way it conducted last Saturday's undertaking and, if future affairs of the kind are as well handled by it, it need not fear any lack of patronage.”

page 25
Lake Ianthe (Westland), half-way between Rossland Waiho. (Photo. E. J. Lezard)

Lake Ianthe (Westland), half-way between Rossland Waiho.
(Photo. E. J. Lezard)