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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 11 (June 1, 1930)



The ability to define correctly is dependent upon many qualities, the chief of which are accuracy, judgment and imagination. Throughout the whole range of the arts, from the painting realistically of either a scene or an idea to the description of a dress or a boxing match, these three qualities must intermingle in true proportion. Engineers and research workers must be able to define accurately, but such a power, strangely, enough, does not seem to be so necessary for inventors. These are often actually helped by an ability to ignore what, by all the known rules of the game, is impossible, and, buoyed up by an unerring intuition, to leap across wide deeps to a right, and previously undreamed of, conclusion. Correct definition in matters of the spoken or written word holds place of highest import, although the capacity for it is often undervalued because of the large number with hazy ideas to whom the necessity for careful analysis and clear statement is never obvious.

Whatever the subject dealt with, the man who can first thoroughly understand it and then so explain the case that even those with no capacity themselves for accurate statement cannot fail to take his meaning, is on the high road to success. If he can help clear statement by the magic of arresting metaphor or graphic comparison, he has every chance of dominating any situation with which he may be confronted.

The late Lord Balfour, whose death at a ripe old age is just announced, and who, during many crucial years, had a guiding hand upon British foreign policy, was one gifted with remarkable powers of analysis. His statements upon matters of Empire moment have been marked by a skilled use of the English tongue to make crystal-clear the reasons for the actions taken or contemplated by, or on behalf of, the British Commonwealth of Nations.

In law, the considered decisions of world-famous judges like Lord Mansfield, men trained to clear statement by the necessities of their profession and gifted with an added inherent power to improve on that training, frequently supply the precedents that settle points of equity for future generations.

In business affairs the same principle applies. A clear-cut statement frequently dispels mistaken notions. It drives clean through fog and camouflage and lays a sound foundation for confidence in decision. In the individual who possesses this gift, it is to be valued above rubies.

To the young men joining the railway service of this country definite ideas upon the problems confronting them and power to understand and explain situations as they arise are increasingly necessary. If the latter capacity has been developed during page 6 school days, their task is made easier and their value to the Department increased.

Of course, it would be unreasonable to expect balanced judgment based on weighty experience in the reports supplied by junior members. But to all is open the chance for correct assessment of the true meaning of any words used. This is the first essential to accuracy in definition, which should be supported by sound ideas regarding arrangement—the methodical marshalling of the facts regarding any subject reported upon.

It would be a good thing for everyone in business if a more careful study were given to the meaning of words, their derivations, their uncles, aunts, and cousins—for words, like people, have a general family history. Anyone so trained should be able to take a given set of bald facts and from these to build up a dependable, accurate report that could be relied upon clearly to place before any reader the actual situation of the matter in hand in all its bearings.

The North Island East Coast Railway
Heavy Stock Traffic.

The seasonal movement of breeding ewes from Poverty Bay and Hawke's Bay is now at its height, and the Taneatua railway has become the principal source of communication between these districts and the Waikato (says the New Zealand Herald). Although eminently suitable for breeding purposes the East Coast areas do not offer the facilities for fattening which exist in the Waikato. It is the practice every year to drive or transport large numbers of Romney ewes to the Waikato, principally for the purpose of crossing with Southdown rams. The fattening of lambs for the export trade is not carried out to a very large extent in the Poverty Bay and Hawke's Bay districts and every year there is a surplus of breeding ewes, which requires to be moved to other areas. These ewes range from two-tooth ewes to aged ewes.

In the past it has been the practice either to drive the ewes overland or to forward them by steamer. The extension of the East Coast railway to Taneatua has resulted in the patronage of the railway for this purpose. Formerly much of this stock would be taken on the Gisborne railway as far as Motuhora and from there driven overland to Rotorua and other districts. The driving of stock overland did not improve the condition of the animals, while it was a more costly business than transport by rail. The railway now takes the stock from Taneatua over the Thames line and even as far as Tirau on the Rotorua line.

Use was made of the railway line last year, but this season has seen far greater movements of stock. First consignments were handled about the beginning of February and there will be continual movement until the end of March. Special trains have been leaving Taneatua with as many as 3,500 sheep a trip. It is estimated that from 60,000 to 80,000 sheep have already passed through.

New Zealand Railway Services and facilities

Favourable comment has been made concerning the improvements recently introduced by the Department for the display of announcements at railway stations. The latest innovation is an attractively designed card, about 24 × 40 inches, printed in three colours, giving, in panel form, a general summary of useful information for the travelling public. For example, the card contains such information as how to obtain tickets for any form of travel—family, season, or tourist, combined train, sea and service car trips—reservations, collection, checking and delivery of luggage, interisland traffic and other points of interest to travellers and business people.

Departmental Examinations

We are requested to notify those members of the Service who are taking the Correspondence Course this year that the Departmental Examinations (junior, intermediate and senior), will be held in September next. In order to ensure the best results from the various examinations it is advisable that those members who intend to sit should commence their studies and enrol as soon as possible. Many tributes have been paid by past students of the Railway Correspondence School, to the benefits derived from the lessons (which cover the subjects set by the Board of Examiners). The passing of the examinations is calculated to be of assistance to members in their future work for the Department.

“Otago Witness” Bears Witness

“The impression of vitality which one receives when perusing the February number of the New Zealand Railways Magazine is caused by the excellence of the magazine's photographs, the up-to-date nature of its articles, and the raciness of its humour. The paper is one able to interest and entertain almost every section of the community.”