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

Current Comments

page 17

Current Comments


Having run their course several of the locomotives imported by the Department in 1901 from America have been dismantled at Newmarket Workshops. Twenty-seven years would appear to be a rather short life for locomotives as we know them in New Zealand. The fact that some of the engines imported from Britain as far back as the middle seventies are still running well and giving good service, is excellent proof of the staying quality of the British-made article.

The Department has not ordered any locomotives from America since 1901 (with the exception of ten from the Baldwin Works at Philadelphia during the war), its locomotive requirements being supplied by its own and other N.Z. workshops (supplemented occasionally by locomotives of British manufacture). With the completion of the Department's workshops building programme all locomotive and other rolling stock will be manufactured in the Dominion.

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Supporting The Railways.

In an editorial article on “The Railways and the Motors,” the “Grey River Argus,” in its issue of 14th April, makes the following observations, which will be read with interest by all railwaymen:—

“The State undoubtedly has, in the matter of transportation, done for New Zealand far more in the provision of cheaper service, and thereby in developing the country in a uniform way, than private enterprise would have done in the absence of public enterprise. The public cannot afford to forget that fact. If the masses should ignore it they would be the ultimate losers because their travel and transport would eventually become more costly than it is to-day… The producers, farmers, millers, coal producers, owe a lot to the railways, and they would never get the same consideration from private motor interests, and since the whole community is dependent as much on the cheap transport of commodities as of persons, it cannot afford to patronise a service which caters only for light traffic. If, however, the motors are allowed to make inroads on railway transport in a gradually increasing degree, the ultimate result must be very serious for New Zealand generally.”

Apropos of the above, it is interesting to place on record the decision of the Waikato Hospital Board that in future the goods required for the hospital shall be transported from Auckland by rail, instead of by motor lorry as was the custom hitherto. The chairman of the Board (Mr. Campbell Johnston) said that while no doubt a saving was effected by the present method, the question for the board was whether a public institution such as the hospital should not use the railways. The decision to do so was unanimous.

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Efforts At Railway Improvement In Russia.

Russia has for long been the black spot upon the railway map of Europe, but at the present time a determined effort is being made to effect the rehabilitation of the railways of this unlucky land (writes our London correspondent). Prior to 1914 there were some 42,500 miles of track operated by the Russian railways, and the chief aim of the authorities is to bring up to an improved standard of maintenance the main lines running east and west throughout the country. Heavier locomotives, improved passenger carriages, and freight vehicles of higher capacity are being introduced, and bridges are being strengthened to meet the new conditions. At the Putilov locomotive works, near Leningrad, new locomotives are being turned out on a large scale, the majority of these being of American design.

Passenger trains in Russia are of three types. One consists of mixed passenger and goods trains, another of slow passenger trains, and the third type is of express passenger trains for main line working. On the latter trains it is usual to charge an excess fare of 25 per cent. The Russian railways are now making a determined bid for long-distance passenger business by advertising the cheapest and fastest route from Europe to the Orient, with a weekly train connecting Moscow with Vladivostock in 240 hours. This represents a reduction of 48 hours over the old timing, and is accomplished by the far-famed “Trans-Siberian Express.”