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

The Call for Men of Vision and Imagination

The Call for Men of Vision and Imagination

Railways have always offered interesting and worth-while employment to the ambitious and careful worker. To-day there are genuine opportunities within the railway industry for the go-ahead man. Railways everywhere have discovered the need for men of broad education and wide vision, untrammelled by the shibboleths of the past, to grapple with the many diverse problems associated with inland transportation. No longer is transport divided into water-tight compartments, such as railway working, road conveyance, canal movement, and so on. For the first time, transport is now viewed as a whole, and the necessity for broad minds and wide visions among railway workers is indeed real.

Sir Josiah Stamp, Chairman and President of the Executive of the London, Midland & Scottish Railway, probably the best-known railway leader in the world, recently pointed out the great need for the study of transport as a whole, and the fact that, in his railway career, the young man of to-day had tremendous advantages as compared with the young man of yesterday. Speaking before a meeting of the Metropolitan Graduate and Student Society of the Institute of Transport, in London, Sir Josiah remarked that only by regarding the various modes of transportation as under one heading could there be avoided chaos and waste of capital and human energy. How was this new situation being met? It was not difficult to find men who were sufficiently skilled and instructed in one particular line of transport; but to find men who had made a practice and a habit of looking at the thing as a whole, and taking into account other aspects than their own, was still a novelty. The younger men of the transport industry, however, were beginning a mode of thought which would later become a habit, and in the future, when all transport matters would be dealt with on comprehensive lines, we should look back upon the days of water-tight compartments as days of barbarism.

It is well that, at this stage in transportation's progress, a man like Sir Josiah Stamp should remind us of this marked change which is taking place within the industry. The fact is that, to get out of the rut, the railwayman of to-day must interest himself in much that lies outside his own particular job. He must secure education in its widest sense, not only acquiring the fullest knowledge possible of the many branches of railway working, but also mastering the fundamentals at least of road, water and aerial transport, and keeping in touch with developments in every field of transportation. This may sound something of a task, but it is really remarkable what knowledge may be acquired by the keen seeker after information, and in the years that lie ahead the broadly educated railwayman will undoubtedly find the effort to have been well worth while.

Maintenance of Locomotive Stock.

Railway mechanical engineering embraces no more important task than that of maintaining in good running order, the locomotives of every type utilised for passenger and freight train haulage. page 29 On the larger railway systems this task assumes colossal proportions. In Britain, for example, the four big group railways actually own 23,303 steam locomotives, and in 1928 some £11,926,591 were spent on their repair and renewal, this figure not including a sum of about £550,000 for superintendence. During the year in question 8,562 steam locomotives received heavy repairs and 8,151 light repairs. In a recent paper read before the Institute of Transport, Sir Henry Fowler, Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, described in detail the methods followed by his system in the repair of locomotives, and the elaborate costing system carried out in connection therewith.

Comfort In Railway Travel. Twin first-class compartment, German Railways.

Comfort In Railway Travel.
Twin first-class compartment, German Railways.

The London, Midland and Scottish Railway was formed by the amalgamation of eight large and 27 smaller railways. These individual lines owned at the time of amalgamation 10,316 engines of about 300 types. By the end of 1928, Sir Henry Fowler stated, the stock had been reduced to 9,871, and the number of different classes cut to 129. One of the first essentials of rapid and economical repair was put as the standardisation of renewable parts, including the boiler. Probably the best method of determining the time the heavy repair of a locomotive should be undertaken was the mileage basis. As regards the boiler, however, the number of times fired up was also a factor to be borne in mind. The process of repairing a locomotive might follow one of three courses, viz.: (1) The whole of the repair might be carried out while the locomotive was in one position. (2) The locomotive might, after being put on wheels, be moved forward on the same road at predetermined intervals on what is styled the “belt” system, as common in motor car construction and repair, (3) The system by means of which the frames or locomotives were moved two or three times during the period they were in the shops. The first method, Sir Henry Fowler stated, was the one to be most commonly used in the past, and it was one which gave fairly good results. It meant, however, that men who carried out specific repairs had to take with them their tools and appliances, and this was not an ideal arrangement. The second method was that followed in the Crewe works of the L.M. and S. Line, and it proved most successful. The locomotive, on receipt, was stripped in two days, and received frame repairs occupying four days while stationary. After this, it was placed on wheels, and for one day then formed the last link of a chain of six locomotives coupled together by wire ropes, each day from this moving forward one place until it was drawn out of the shop a completely repaired machine. Method number three was that favoured at the Derby Works of the L.M. and S. Railway.

Repair Costing Systems.

As regards locomotive repair costing systems, Sir Henry Fowler stated that, at all the workshops on the L.M. & S. Railway, a uniform method of compilation of workshop expenses was in operation, by means of which, expenditure on maintenance and operation of workshops, plant and machinery, was ascertained for each shop under about one hundred separate heads. This information was compiled every four weeks and was circulated among works managers and shop foremen for the purpose of checking and, where necessary, explaining any exceptional expenditure incurred. The percentages of workshop expenses to direct wages were ascertained for each shop and applied to these wages. A uniform system of costing of manufactures was also in operation at each works, all stock articles being made to specific stores department orders and passed to that department on completion. By this means no new page 30 materials could be obtained without the authority of a stores requisition, data was provided for comparing costs with prices paid for similar articles purchased from private firms, and, as far as practicable, articles were ordered in such quantities as permitted of economical production. The rough material drawn from stores was charged to the particular stock order, together with the wages spent in converting the material into a finished article, and the workshop expenses percentage applied to these direct wages, thus making up the
Locomotive Repair Shop Practice. The “Belt System” in operation at Crewe Works.

Locomotive Repair Shop Practice.
The “Belt System” in operation at Crewe Works.

total cost at which the article was handed to the stores department. Boiler repairs were costed to stores orders in a manner similar to all other manufactures. The repair system and costing arrangements in force at the Crewe shops are especially well thought out, and they are worthy of the closest study on the part of railway mechanical engineers generally.

Germany's Great Transport Achievements.

No railway system in Europe ranks of greater importance than that of Germany. A recent study of conditions throughout this far-flung railway undertaking reveals strikingly the prosperity of the system, and the ability and energy displayed by German railway workers of every grade. The German Railway Company was formed on October 1, 1924. Its tracks run to 33,000 miles, and in 1928, the German railways handled 2,000,000,000 passengers and loaded on an average 150,000 wagons of merchandise on each working day. In addition some 160,000,000 tons of coal were conveyed during the twelve months.

Generally speaking, train speeds are not high in Germany. Only about four per cent, of the passengers handled in 1928 travelled by fast train, the majority preferring to take advantage of the cheaper service offered by the slow trains, or “Personenzug” as they are styled. This feature, by the way, was brought home strikingly to your correspondent during his lengthy stay in the Rhineland when engaged as a Staff Officer on supervisory work on the railways in the Cologne area. Express trains were used almost exclusively by members of the Allied forces with a mere handful of German civilians. The slow trains were packed with civilians, a very small proportion of whom found seating accommodation. On the main trunk routes of Germany the fastest trains are those between Berlin and Cologne, Frankfort and Hamburg, these averaging speeds up to 55 miles an hour. The average length of haul for freight traffic in Germany is 94 miles, and the average freight train consists of 39 wagons. Goods rates work out at about 39 per cent, over the 1914 figures.

The most famous of all the fast passenger trains in Germany is the “Rheingold Limited,” running daily between Hook of Holland and Basle. This page 31 service represents the last word in travel comfort, and maintains fast connections from London, Hook of Holland and Amsterdam, or from Switzerland and Italy, to the Rhine Valley. A separate section operates from Amsterdam, and during the summer tourist season the “Rheingold Limited” has Lucerne as its southern terminal, in place of Basle. En route through the Rhine Valley connections are made with the principal trunk services across Germany. On the 500 mile run through Germany, the locomotive of the “Rheingold Limited” is changed only once.

The carriages of this crack express are of all-steel construction. They comprise combination salon-dining rooms, with intimate compartments in the first-class carriages for two and four passengers respectively. The seats are heavily upholstered, with high backs. They consist of revolving arm-chairs in the first-class, and of stationary individual and twin-seats in the second-class. A separate kitchen is provided for each pair of passenger carriages. No two carriages are alike in interior colour combinations, upholstery or tapestry. The exterior of the “Rheingold Limited” is painted bright lavender, with cream window-frames and a silver grey roof. Extra fares, over and above the ordinary passenger rates, are charged for travel on this most famous of all German passenger trains.

A Leader In Railway Electrification. Express Train on the St. Gothard Railway, Switzerland.

A Leader In Railway Electrification.
Express Train on the St. Gothard Railway, Switzerland.

The Railway Position in Austria.

While the German railways are marching steadily ahead, the railways of the neighbouring European land of Austria are being worked under very great difficulties.

What amounts almost to a crisis has now been reached in the Austrian railway world, and there are many alarming rumours in circulation concerning the future of Austria's railway system. On the one hand there is mention of a complete change in the management. Another rumour speaks of the possible return to hard and fast government operation. Yet a third report tells of the possible leasing of the Austrian railways to a foreign syndicate. Hard and fast bureaucratical rule will certainly not pull the Austrian railways out of their difficulties, nor is the idea of leasing the railway system of the land to a foreign syndicate at all attractive from the point of view of the average patriotic Austrian. What probably will be done eventually will be to call in the aid of some outside railway expert of international repute, to investigate the situation, and report as to what remedial measures he considers desirable. The Austrian railway system is one of the most important of central European transportation links, and it would be a thousand pities if the undertaking were allowed to slide to a second-rate standard.

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By Rail Through Scenic New Zealand—North Island Main Trunk Line (Rly. Publicity photo.) The “Daylight Limited” Express travelling over the Makohine Viaduct. This viaduct is a notable structure from an engineering point of view, having a span of 750ft. and a height of 238ft. above the riverbed.

By Rail Through Scenic New Zealand—North Island Main Trunk Line
(Rly. Publicity photo.)
The “Daylight Limited” Express travelling over the Makohine Viaduct. This viaduct is a notable structure from an engineering point of view, having a span of 750ft. and a height of 238ft. above the riverbed.

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