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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 12 (April 1, 1928.)

Transporting the Mail. — New 50Ft. Postal Car In Service

page 22

Transporting the Mail.
New 50Ft. Postal Car In Service.

The accompanying photographs illustrate a new postal car recently built in the New Zealand Government Railway Workshops at Hillside, to the design of Mr. G. S. Lynde, A.M.I.Mech.E., M.I.Loco.E., the chief mechanical engineer. The interior was arranged to suit the requirements of the N.Z. Post and Telegraph Department.

The general outside appearance conforms to the existing main line stock in the South Island, being painted Midland Lake and varnished. The body is built of well-seasoned kauri, the framing being braced with diagonal members to prevent working and creaking when in service. The outer vertical sheeting is of 2 × ¾ T. and G. timber and the horizontal sheeting is of 4 × ¾ T. and G.

To ensure the even distribution of the load, the mail sorting table, pigeon-holes, hoppers, etc., are placed in the centre of the car, in the space between two 3ft. 6in. sliding doors on each side. This arrangement allows ample space at either end of the car for storage of mail hampers and bags.

An interior view of the car shewing some of the fittings.

An interior view of the car shewing some of the fittings.

The two doors on each side of the car facilitate the reception and delivery of mail matter at stations. On one side of the sorting space are placed the letter sorting pigeon-holes, comprising seven rows of seventeen receptacles. Each row of pigeon-holes is provided with an octagonal roller, with the names of stations painted thereon. A different set of names is painted on each face of the roller.

A long sorting table is provided, with a stamping pad, running the full length of the pigeonholes. On the other side is located the paper sorting table, with eight mailbag hoppers alongside and with five rows of six pigeon-holes above, these pigeon-holes being provided with similar rollers to those for the letters.

A late fee letter post slip is provided on each side of the car, and the letter-box is placed under the sorting table on either side. A private drawer above each letter-box provides storage for the mail agents' instructions, etc.

At either end of the car are placed six removable stanchions, which enable a passage way to be kept between the stacked hampers and letter-boxes.

The car is provided with a lavatory, accessible by the mail agents at all times, and equipped with a wash basin, mirror, and trapped water hopper. A plentiful supply of water is obtained from a 70 gallon tank carried in the roof above the lavatory. A filter for drinking water is placed in the car, and a fire extinguisher is located within easy reach of the mail agents. The car is well lighted by twelve roof lights of clear glass, fitted with adjustable blinds, and fourteen windows frosted and suitably protected.

Lighting is provided for by Stone's electric installation, a dynamo driven from the trailing bogies supplying two batteries of 12 cells each attached to the underframe. These supply the necessary current for six electric lamps placed in a convenient position over the sorting tables. There is also a light in the centre of the car at each end.

As the postal car is usually run at the back of the train, side and tail lamps are also fitted. Separate switches control each light.

The car is provided with steam heat, a radiator being placed under each sorting table. Ample ventilation is obtained from twenty-one roof ventilators of the standard car pattern.

page 23

The underframe is similar to the underframes used on passenger stock and is built of British standard sections, length 50ft. over headstocks and 52ft. 6in. over buffers. The brake gear is the Westinghouse, with a 10in. horizontal cylinder, and a hand brake is also provided at one end of the car.

The bogies under the postal car have a wheel base of 6ft., the axleboxes are made of cast steel journals 8 × 4 diameter, and the wheels of pressed steel have tyres secured by the “Gibson” ring fastening. The bogie bolster rests on laminated springs and the side movement of the bolster is controlled by coil springs on each side.

Interest in N.Z. Railways.

The public of New Zealand will be interested in the remarks of the Hon. W. Forgan Smith, Deputy-Premier of Queensland, who recently visited Christchurch.

In an interview given to a representative of the Christchurch “Star” Mr. Smith said that he had been greatly interested in the New Zealand railways, because the railway problem was causing all Governments in Australia, irrespective of party, grave concern.

“From what I have seen of the railways here, I have been greatly impressed with the efficiency of the staffs,” said Mr. Smith. “They appear to carry out their duties very well indeed. I am collecting a good deal of information regarding the running of your railways, which I think will prove very helpful to us in Queensland. The guage here, 3ft. 6in., is the same as we have in Queensland.”

Mail Exchanging Device on the N.Z.R.

The first automatic changing of mails in New Zealand was successfully operated at Levin on 8th March, that station having been selected as a convenient place to make the trial. The mail exchanger which had been installed on the platform did its work satisfactorily, exchanging bags with the south-bound Main Trunk Express, which was travelling at 30 miles an hour at the time—10.15 a.m. Apparatus similar to that on the platform was fitted on a special postal van, and the bags were exchanged simultaneously, a red bag being received and a black bag despatched.

The inward mail comprised letters which had accumulated in Palmerston North during the morning from Taranaki, Hawke's Bay and Auckland, and which, in the ordinary course, would not have reached Levin until 2 p.m. The operation was carried out in the presence of the postmaster (Mr. B. Magee), stationmaster (Mr. J. A. McQueen), and several members of the local railway staff, while in the van were Mr. Munden, of the head office of the Postal Department, an engineer of the Railway Department, and several mail agents.

The system is on trial for a few weeks, and in the meantime it will probably be used to exchange mails twice a week at Levin. Should it come through the extended test successfully its use will be extended. The system will greatly facilitate the delivery of mails at any small stations at which it may be installed and where the expresses do not stop. The device was manufactured at the railway workshops.

The New 50ft Postal Car built at Hillside Workshops.

The New 50ft Postal Car built at Hillside Workshops.