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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 1 (May 1, 1928)

Editorial — Autumn Excursions

page 2

Autumn Excursions

The initiation this month of a railway excursion period for autumn travelling marks the completion of a liberalising policy in relation to school vacations that is assured of much appreciation from the public.

It is not many years since the holidays at primary and secondary schools were synchronised by the adoption of a similar three-term system. Most parents will remember the days when “primary” and “secondary” scholars could never have a long holiday together excepting at Christmas time. The application of the three-term year to the primary schools was a sensible reform, for besides bringing about a coincidence of vacations it provided useful breaks in the work during autumn and spring—two good holiday seasons—in place of the rather cheerless, unassociated winter holidays previously in vogue.

The granting by the Railway Department of concessions to school boarders returning home at vacation times is a practice which dates back a long way. It remained unchanged until the spring of last year, when, for the first time, other school children besides boarders were given the advantage of excursion fares for their holidays.

A further and far-reaching extension is now made, for the concession is to have universal application for “children and grown-ups too.” It means that instead of only the two periods (Christmas and Easter) during which a general issue of holiday excursion tickets was made, there will now be four periods in each year when excursion travelling will be available to the general public.

In a country like ours, where farming pursuits are of primary importance, it can well be understood why at Christmas and Easter the towns are thinned of people while the country is crowded. In the ordinary course, and given equivalent freedom of movement, the balance would probably be the other way; but while thousands of town-dwellers are able at these times to gratify their desire for change by having “a holiday on the land” or making “a visit to the farm,” the members of the rural population are in the midst of their busiest periods and consequently cannot make a corresponding invasion of the towns. So until now the holidays of large numbers of people living in the country have had to be taken when only ordinary rates were available, with the result that the stimulus which low fares give to travelling has not, in general, reached the primary producers.

Then, too, there are large numbers in the towns who are busiest when the majority are on holiday. To these, also, page 3 the autumn and spring excursion periods should be welcome, and will tempt many to take trips who would otherwise stay at home.