The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 3 (July 1, 1929)
Electrification is a word to conjure with these days. New Zealand has now tasted something of the joys of clean and swift travel associated with the employment of electric haulage. In this age of record-making and record-breaking, it is pleasant to find that, in the electrification field, British enterprise leads the world. With the recent completion of the electrification of its Central Section, the Southern Railway of England becomes the happy owner of, by far, the greatest suburban electrification system in the five continents.
The Southern Railway is a combination of three pre-war lines, viz., the London and South Western; the London, Brighton and South Coast; and the South Eastern and Chatham systems. Prior to amalgamation under the grouping scheme, the South Western and Brighton lines had embarked upon a policy of electrifying their suburban systems. Since the coming of the “Southern,” this policy has been steadily pursued, and, after spending something like £10,500,000 on electrification, this go-ahead line now operates 875 miles of electrified track. Train services throughout the wide area south of London, covered by the electrification have been entirely remodelled and augmented, new signalling has been installed, stations and platforms rebuilt to accommodate longer trains, and much new rolling-stock brought into use. The Southern electrification is on the 1,500 volts D.C., third-rail system, this system being standard throughout Britain. The change-over from steam to electric working has been accomplished with remarkably slight inconvenience to the public, and the new electric services are greatly appreciated by all—a fact which is demonstrated by the very considerable increase in business handled over the electrified tracks.