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

New Management

page 2

New Management

The Press of the Dominion has already given unqualified approval to the decision of the Prime Minister, and Minister of Railways (the Right Hon. J. G. Coates) in appointing Mr. H. H. Sterling, LL.B., M.Inst.T., to be General Manager of the New Zealand Railways in place of the retiring Board of Management.

It is somewhat unique that nowhere has there been any suggestion, either by the Press or by leading business men, that the retention of a Board in charge of the system would have been the better course. This is particularly noteworthy in view of the fact that the members of the retiring Board were all men of considerable ability in their respective spheres whose combined efforts had produced, during their term, substantial improvement in the quality of service rendered by the railways to the people of New Zealand and in the conditions governing employment in the Department. It appears, therefore, that the desire for a reversion to General Manager control is due to some rooted dislike to the impersonality of a corporate body, akin to that which causes Coalitions to be unpopular in British communities.

It will be remembered that the experiment New Zealand tried in the Civil Service with three Commissioners in control did not last long—probably for a similar reason, and there seems no doubt that the adoption of single Commissioner responsibility for that group of public departments has been a distinct gain to the Dominion.

Now that the change has been made, the best wishes of members of the Railway Department will go out to the members of the late Board in their retirement. Each of them had come through the ranks of the Department and, in the course of nearly forty years of unstinted service, had risen, by sheer ability, to authoritative control over the workings of the Dominion's largest business enterprise.

Mr. H. H. Sterling, after nearly three years’ separation, returns to us with the broader outlook and wider experience gained in the management of the New Zealand Cooperative Dairy Company, the largest company of its kind in the world. He will be welcomed back by all who know how much he did for the Department during the years he was with us.

Elsewhere in this issue particulars of his brilliant record are given. It is sufficient to say here that his return indicates that he himself is satisfied regarding the bright future before the railways of this country —given the right direction, and sufficient impetus to overcome for the Dominion those serious difficulties at present facing railways generally, not only here, but page 3 in every country where the operation of motors has made it possible for competing road services to interfere with railway traffic.

One considerable advantage of the change will be that the reproach frequently directed against the Department that it had no executive officers with outside commercial experience will no longer be applicable. This should satisfy the business community and also assist in speeding up the introduction of commercial methods. It is doubtful, also, whether a better post-graduate training course for general-managership of the New Zealand Railways could ever have been obtained by any railwayman than that taken by Mr. Sterling during the term of his association with the great dairying organisation that is now, at the Prime Minister's special request, reluctantly relinquishing his services that they may be made available to the Railway Department.

Parrot Competition.

In our last issue a prize of two guineas was offered to the writer of the first letter opened containing the answer to the “Parrot Competition” question propounded on the cover of that Magazine. We have pleasure in announcing that the prize has been won by Miss Pearl Anita Wallace, of Green Lane, Auckland, the solution being “Travel by rail, for Safety, Comfort and Economy.”

The competition created a great deal of interest, nearly 600 entries being received, and some very clever answers were given. Some of these will be published at a later date.

A further competition will be announced in an early issue.

Railway Motor Services.

The announcement that Mr. J. Carnachan has been appointed Manager of Motor Services for the New Zealand Railways indicates to what extent this arm of the service is developing. Mr. Carnachan is a railway-trained man of very wide experience who has shown marked capacity in whatever position he has occupied in the service. For several years he was station-master at Otahuhu, one of the busiest centres for freight traffic in the Dominion. He has more recently, whilst in charge at Napier station, had control of the Napier-Hastings bus services that have proved so satisfactory for the people of the district under railway management.


A Capable Railway President 59
A Holiday in Australia 3839
A Monarch of the Waipoua Kauri Forest 15
A Remarkable Career 5
A Slogan 2829
Among the Books 2627
By Those Who Like Us 55
Change in Management of the N.Z. Railways 6
Co-operation and Goodwill 4445
Current Comments 17
Dawson Falls (photo) 32
Editorial–New Management 23
For the Children (poem) 46
Guide “Rangi” (photo) 49
Hapuawhenua Viaduct (photo) 37
Index 3
Ladies’ Page 56
London Letter 1821
Message from the General Manager to Public and Staff 4
Modern Methods in Our Workshops 2223
Notes of the Month 5051
On Rotorua's Shores 7
Our Railway Gauge 1011
Opening of the Roxburgh Line 58
Production Engineering 4243
Promotions Recorded during May 63
Railway Doings in Britain 57
Railways and Traders 25
Safety First 40
Station Gardens 1214
Steam Locomotive Holds its Own 48
Sunset on the Ongarue River 9
Theory of Combustion 3031
The Late Mr. Lowe 8
The Maori Magna Charta 16
The New Workshops (photos) 41
The Romance of the Rail 3336
To Franz Josef Glacier 6061
Tools of Steel 5253
Traffic Control 62
Variations in Traffic and Revenue 64
Wit and Humour 47

Railway Control.

“It will be necessary,” said the Prime Minister, speaking of the change in Railway control, “to make temporary arrangements to carry on until such time as the Dairy Company can see its way clear to release Mr. Sterling; but he will be consulted on all questions of administration in the interim.”