The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 1 (May 1, 1930)
Modern Railway Publicity
Modern Railway Publicity
The department that deals with passenger travel publicity is one of the youngest branches of the railway industry, but, in these days of keen competition, clever advertising campaigns are retaining to rail much business which otherwise would be lost, as well as securing for railways the world over a large volume of new traffic. There was a time when even educated and experienced railway traffic officers regarded passenger advertising more as a plaything for headquarters than as a practical and worthwhile activity. Nowadays the real value of passenger publicity in all its forms is appreciated to the full by one and all.
To-day, almost every railway of any magnitude possesses its own skilled publicists, who are daily engaged in the arduous, but nevertheless most fascinating task, of luring the traveller to the rail route, alike when on business or pleasure bent. The accomplishments of the Publicity and Advertising Departments of the New Zealand Railways have time and again been noted by railway folk at Home, and the work of these departments must prove of the greatest assistance in the building up of passenger revenues.
Broadly speaking, newspaper advertising forms the backbone of the Home railway passenger advertising campaigns. This form of publicity has proved exceptionally successful, and both national and local publications are employed to carry the railway message to the public. Supplementing press publicity, comes poster advertising, handbill distribution, personal canvassing, and the circulation of holiday literature of suitable character, prior to, and during the summer vacation season. The most successful type of holiday book issued by each of the four Home group railways takes the form of an apartments and holiday guide, describing very briefly the whole of the pleasure resorts on the system, and containing details of the holiday accommodation available thereat. As an instance of the success of this style of publication, in may be noted that of last year's issue of the London and North Eastern Railway's all-line holiday guide, priced at sixpence, some 100,000 copies were sold prior to the opening of the summer vacation season.
The advertising managers of the Home railways are directly responsible to their general managers for the advertising policy of the line. The advertising budget is carefully divided out under different headings, e.g., poster publicity, press advertising, and so on, and frequent review is made of this allocation, in consultation with the passenger traffic managers. Home railway advertising is well directed, attractive and timely. In view of the enormous competition now being faced by the Home lines, the fact that, in a single year, the four group systems sell some 1,300,000,000 passenger ticket, is in itself a tribute to the worth of the elaborate advertising campaigns conducted by the respective publicity departments.
One of the most interesting features of passenger department development in recent times has been the growth, in almost every land, of page 18 the railway-owned hotel. By the four group railways of Britain there are maintained chains of guest-houses catering for the needs of the traveller in most admirable fashion, and the operation of these hotels is not only in itself a paying proposition, but is the means of much business being drawn to the train services of the respective lines.
London has numerous railway-owned hotels. In the provinces almost every city has one, if not more, railway-owned guest-house for the accommodation of travellers. A further development has been the opening of sumptuous railway-owned hotels in scenic territory removed from the principal centres of population, but likely to prove of service to the tourist and sports lover. Examples of this type of railway-owned hotel are found in the London, Midland and Scottish Company's Gleneagles establishment, and the Bovey Tracey Hotel of the Great Western Railway, in picturesque Devonshire.
Usually the hotels manager is also charged with the supervision of refreshment room and dining-car services, and, in recent years, the growth of the catering department has been very striking. Apart from the operation of dining-cars and station restaurants, a feature which may interest New Zealand railway folk is the successful experiment of the Great Western Railway in sending page-boys with chocolates, cigarettes, fruit and light refreshments, on excursion and other trains on which restaurant car facilities are not provided, and stops not made at stations furnished with refreshment rooms.
New Features in Locomotive Design.
The locomotive forms the basis of railway haulage, and no matter how comfortable passenger carriages may be, or how efficiently the station staffs carry out their respective duties, it is useless to expect to attract the traveller if locomotives are not powerful enough to meet every demand that may be made upon them. Last month's Letter made reference to the efforts of the Home railways to increase locomotive efficiency and economy, and dealt in detail with the new high-pressure locomotive, No. 10,000, introduced on the London and North Eastern Railway system. Following the lead thus set, another wonderful high-pressure machine has been put into experimental service on the London, Midland and Scottish line.
The new L.M. and S. locomotive is appropriately named “Fury.” It follows the design of the well-known “Royal Scot” class as regards the frame, but is a three-cylinder compound, the high pressure cylinder being situated between the frames, and the two low pressure cylinders outside the frames. The boiler is of the “Schmidt” high-pressure type, and consists of two distinct systems of boilers, each carrying a different pressure, varying from 250lbs. to 900lbs. per square inch. High-pressure steam is generated in a drum separated from the normal boiler, and is first employed in the high-pressure cylinder of 11 1/2in. diameter at 900lbs., being then mixed with low-pressure steam from the boiler and used in the two low-pressure cylinders at 250lbs. The tractive effort of the machine is 33,200lbs., and the new locomotive is now undergoing extensive trials on the L.M. and S. Anglo-Scottish main line.
The Development of Railway-owned Road Services.
Railways all over the world continue to pay the closest attention to the problem of road competition. At Home this competition has largely been met by the railways themselves embarking upon road transport for both passengers and freight. This arrangement appears to be the one which most of the world's railways are following, and from the United States, the page 19 Continent of Europe, India, and elsewhere, come reports of the rapid progress made in this direction. In most countries it has been found necessary to give railways government protection from the cut-throat and uneconomic competition of the road carriers. In Italy no motor service is allowed to compete with the railways. Hungary gives permission only for the operation of private road services where it is clear that such services would not clash with the existing railway services. In Germany and Austria, similar steps have been taken to protect the interests of the railways.
One of the most interesting records of the development of railway-owned road services comes from South Africa. The South African railways, like those of New Zealand, work to a gauge of 3ft. 6in., and much of the country traversed is not dissimilar to that found in New Zealand. The first regular railway-owned road motor service in South Africa was commenced after the Great War. Since then road motors have been extensively acquired by the South African Railways, and during the twelve months ended March 31st, 1929, the aggregate mileage run by these vehicles totalled 4,144,368. The number of passengers handled reached 1,450,552, and 112,791 tons of general merchandise and 577,825 gallons of cream were dealt with. There is a tremendous field for the development of railway-owned and operated road motors as feeders to the railway proper, and in New Zealand, the fullest use will, in course of time, doubtless be made of railway-owned road motors.
Amalgamation of Underground Railway Undertakings.
One of the most interesting moves in the European railway world is the amalgamation of the two underground electric railways serving Paris-the Metropolitan and the North-South system. The Metropolitan system comprises about 60 miles of double-track, with 174 stations. Trains are run on the direct current system at 600 volts, with track conductor. Train signalling is entirely automatic, and trains normally consist of five carriages, which carry about 500 passengers. In a normal week, some 13,000,000 passengers are handled, and the staff employed on the system numbers 8,200.
In relation to its size and population, the French capital is better served by underground railways than any other city in the world, there being about one mile of double-track to every 42,500 inhabitants. For many years there has been a close working agreement between, the Metropolitan and the North-South system, and their amalgamation into one compact undertaking will enable better service to be given the public, at the same time effecting valuable economies in management and operation.
Electrification Progress in Switzerland.
Electrification of railways was, at the outset, mainly confined to city and suburban lines, such as those of the Paris Metropolitan system. page 20 Nowadays, main line electrification is expanding in many lands, and in mountain-locked Switzerland, there are to-day actually 1,700 kilometres of main line worked by electricity. For the years 1930–1937 the Swiss Government Railways have drawn up an elaborate electrification programme involving an expenditure of about 80 million Swiss marks. During this period some 500 additional kilometres of track are to be converted from steam to electric traction, the longest single length of line involved being the 84 kilometre stretch of track between Berne and Lucerne.
Italy's New Royal Train.
Royal trains are always objects of intense interest, alike for railwaymen and the general public. The magnificence of the new Royal train constructed for use on the Italian State Railways by the Fiat Company, of Turin, has never before been approached. The train is composed of three cars (one for the King, one for the Queen, and a dining saloon), and really resembles nothing so much as a wonderful palace on wheels. Each car is 64ft. 7 1/2in. long, exclusive of buffers. In each of been constructed a vestibule, a parlour, a bedroom, a lavatory, two or three compartments for the attendants and aide-de-camp, and accommodation for servants. In the dining-car is a large dining saloon with a table 23ft. long, and 20 chairs, as well as a vestibule, a pantry, and a private retiring room for the King.
The train is painted blue on the exterior, and the cars are emblazoned with the Royal crown and the mystic inscription “R.I.C.,” which, being translated, means that the train may travel over all Continental railway systems. In the interior of the three Royal cars lavish use has been made of gold, silks, brocades, bronze, enamels, tapestries, carpets and precious woods. The Queen's parlour forms a perfect picture. It is furnished with a settee, a writing table and two small armchairs, and is decorated in pale blue. The adjoining bedroom is in yellow. There is an austere magnificence in the dining-car, a riot of colour and symbols, a triumph in red and gold. In the centre of the ceiling, gleaming like a star, is the Royal crown. It is surrounded by motifs of grain, vine and flowers-signifying plenty, fertility and poetry. Red velvet tapestries, interwoven with gold and with the Cross of Savoy in silver, crimson curtains and artistically cut crystal lamps, complete the majesty of the saloon down the centre of which runs a mahogany table, so highly polished as to reflect every detail of the ceiling as sharply as in a mirror. Twenty square chairs in worked leather stand around the table, and a magnificent carpet covers the floor. Altogether, the new Italian Royal train certainly represents the last word in the railway coach builder's art.