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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 2 (June 1, 1928)

Production Engineering — (Part XXI) — Workshops Re-Organisation—Progress to Date

page 42

Production Engineering
(Part XXI)
Workshops Re-Organisation—Progress to Date

Within a few months the final stage of the three years’ building and re-organisation programme, intended to bring the railway workshops of this Dominion up to date, will be reachied. The final stage will be the actual transferring of the employees and the work to the new workshops.

Photographs which accompany this article indicate graphically the forward state of the building operations. Up to the present, such matters as the designing, the contracting, the building, lay-outs, the purchase and inspection of machinery, the arrangements of reticulations for oil, air, water, power, and other services, as well as hundreds of other details connected with the general design, have been the work of executive officers and their technical staffs.

New Workshops Machinery. 5′8 K.W. Premier Electric Welding Machine.

New Workshops Machinery.
5′8 K.W. Premier Electric Welding Machine.

The final stage, however, largely affects the men employed.

The greater conveniences for working in the workshops, the many amenities being provided that could not be introduced at the old shops, the aids to efficiency which improved machinery, and better lay-outs, space, and lighting will supply, are sure of hearty appreciation from all those engaged in the workshops; but the final stage will be a very trying one for those upon whom the re-adjustments of staffs will necessitate a transfer. It will be a trying time for the management also, because of the adjustments necessary with the new allocations, methods of working, and the detailed arrangements in connection with a hundred and one adaptations that will have to be made to suit the new conditions.

My object in so stating the case in this preamble is to warn everyone concerned to “be ready,” and here I would like to express my admiration for the excellent work done by the workshops committees recently set up. These have been of great value to all concerned, for they have brought their practical knowledge of affairs to the assistance of both the men and the management, and thus assisted in the most amicable adjustment of individual cases.

We are going to be “really busy.” Each shop is going to be “really busy” making the change-over, and at the same time maintaining the rolling stock up to standard. Everyone will need to “keep both feet to the ground” during this difficult period.

Obviously the exact date of the transfers cannot be stated until certain items in the programme have been completed. Travelling cranes, for instance, are an essential item, and these are now being shipped from England. When they arrive—or some of them—we can, in the North Island, get right ahead. In the South Island certain new shops have to be occupied before some of the old ones can be pulled down, and other new ones built in their places. The programme there will, therefore, take longer to complete than in the North Island.

The staff in each shop will have ample notice of impending transfer, and any men who happen page 43 to sell their properties meanwhile will be transferred if it is at all possible to do so. Some forty men and their families have already been transferred in pursuance of this policy.

As I have already indicated, this is the time for cool and deliberate thinking and acting. All the housing arrangements are going ahead smoothly. In addition to the work of the shop committees in this connection, there has been splendid co-operation with the Minister of Railways, the Head Office Housing Committee, the Architectural, Accountants, Land and Legal, and State Advances Departments. These have all come into the picture, and are working together to carry out this job smoothly. It is all progressing favourably—everything is O.K.

There is still a range of difficulties ahead of us, and we have to surmount them. Whether we make a hard job of it by taking the roughest road, or whether we make a light job of it by using our heads to discover the easiest course—depends upon the attitude towards cooperation taken up by each individual. A job like this is just as hard as you make it.

Soon To Be Ready For Active Operations.The Photograph Shews The Forward State Of The New Railway Workshops At Hillside, Dunedin.

Soon To Be Ready For Active Operations.
The Photograph Shews The Forward State Of The New Railway Workshops At Hillside, Dunedin.

“Off Agin, On Agin, Gone Agin.”

The fame which brevity brought to Finnigan through his well-known report upon a shunting mishap has usually been left unshared. It is therefore well worth remembering that it was the railway poem written for “Life” by S. W. Galliland that placed Finnigan definitely “on record.”

There are many verses to the poem, dealing with the troubles that Ganger Finnigan had with the Inspector of Permanent Way—Flannigan.

The latter insisted that Finnigan make his reports short and snappy, free from superfluous verbiage, and simple to read and understand. After many efforts Finnigan in reporting a derailment finally complied with the requirements, as related in the last verse of the poem:

He wuz shantyin’ thin, wuz Finnigin,
As miny a railroader's been agin,
An' the shmoky ol' lamp wuz burnin' bright
In Finnigin's shanty all that night….
Bilin’ down his repoort, wuz Finnigin!
An' he writed like this: “Musther Flannigin:
Off agin. On agin.
Gone agin.—Finnigin.”