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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 3 (July 1, 1929)

General Manager's Message

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General Manager's Message

Traffic Improving.

The latest figures in regard to our traffic show that, despite difficulties arising chiefly from adverse weather conditions, railway business has remained buoyant, the operating revenue for the current financial year to the 25th May showing an improvement of £9,561 over that of last year.

We appear to be gaining the confidence of travellers still further through the comfort in travel we are able to provide, compared with other means of transport, during the winter months. The recent extension of steam-heating to cars on additional train services has had a definite effect in making the services more attractive. Special passenger traffic, helpful to revenue and of definite service to the community, has been secured from the various Farmers' Excursions run between districts in the North and South Islands. I feel sure the result of information gained by the hundreds of farmers making these excursions will have definite favourable reactions in the returns secured from the land, and we hope to share in the benefits obtained through increased freight traffic in both primary and secondary products.

Better Service being Devised.

There are numerous improvements now in train for supplying better service to the users of the Railways. Amongst these, a comprehensive programme is now proceeding for the replacement of the present seating accommodation in second class carriages by a better type of seat. The interiors of cars are also receiving attention to make their appearance better. The quality of service which the Department is able to provide is, of course, limited by financial considerations. A middle course must be struck between what could be supplied were the relation between revenue and expenditure of no moment, and the maintenance of a margin no greater than is necessary to prevent defections of traffic through a standard being maintained insufficiently high to hold popular patronage. We want the public to feel always that the service the Department provides is invariably the best that can be secured at the price. The whole of our organisation is planned out with this end in view. The scale of our services is such that there is always a margin of transport power available to handle additional traffic, and as the public more and more use our services, so will we be able to give better value for the fares and freights received.

The Earthquake Disaster.

While absent in Australia attending the Australian and New Zealand Railways Conference, I much regretted to learn of the earthquakes which had taken place in the Dominion and which had caused serious damage on the West Coast of the South Island.

We, as a Department, extend our deepest sympathy to those who have been, in some cases, deprived of their homes by the very untoward circumstances, and we are pleased to see the very generous response the public of New Zealand is making in connection with relief measures.

So far as our service is concerned, while we, of course, suffered heavily, we are glad to know that the damage to the railway has not been so extensive as might have been expected from the nature and magnitude of the disturbances.

I wish to express my very warm appreciation of the manner in which all concerned struck to their tasks in the affected area. They are to be commended on the promptitude with which our services were restored.

General Manager