The initial number of a series of illustrated booklets, entitled “The Romance of the Rail,” and issued by the Publicity Branch of the New Zealand Railways, is now off the press. This number describes, and pictures with good halftone and line blocks, the scenic and historic features of the country traversed on the train journey by the Main Trunk line between Auckland and Wellington. An authentic guide to the country traversed by the train traveller through New Zealand the booklet in question, which contains a vividly written narrative of the whole Main Trunk route from the pen of Mr. James Cowan, serves the purpose of adding an intensely fascinating historical interest to the natural curiosity awakened by the rivers, mountains, villages, and towns seen from the carriage window. The Main Trunk story opens at Auckland, and proceeds southward, the reader soon becoming absorbed in its romantic atmosphere of past days, when New Zealand's history was in the making. It tells of legend, and war, and peace-time progress, from early Maori days right down to the present. A wonderful story develops as the journey continues on through the fertile and historic Waikato, so long contested for by warrior tribes, and the scene of many subsequent sharp encounters between pakeha and Maori; through South Auckland, at one time clothed in dense puriri forests; and across the river at Ngaruawahia, past which in earlier days gunboats and paddle-wheelers steamed up the Waipa and Waikato Rivers. Reference to mobs of wild horses that not so
many years ago had their home in the Mamukawere Plains, in the King Country, brings to mind the remarkable transition effected in the course of a few years, for the locality is now the centre of a thriving farming district in which the white population many times outnumbers the Maori. The journey through the King Country, down the Rangitikei Valley, and across the Manawatu Plains, is faithfully portrayed, interesting reference being made to such well-known features as the Waitomo Cave country, the Raurimu Spiral (where the railway climbs to an elevation of 2160ft. in a distance of 30 miles), and the Tongariro National Park. Sixteen
The Banff Springs Hotel, Bow Valley, On The Canadian Pacific Railway.
of the 64 pages are devoted to illustrations showing interesting structural features of the Main Trunk, and a fine series of scenic pictures. Five specially prepared sectional contour maps of the route are included, as well as helpful information of a general nature for the benefit of visitors to the Dominion, and a detailed list of the tunnels and principal viaducts passed on the way. The preparation of the second number, dealing with the journey from Lyttelton to Invercargill, is now in hand, and will be finalised at an early date. The complete series is intended to cover the whole of the railway system of the Dominion. Copies are on sale at Railway Bookstalls for 1/- each.