The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 6 (October 1, 1930)
A Critic of the Proposed Railway
A Critic of the Proposed Railway.
The First Railway Station in New Zealand.
Plan of the Ferrymead Station, Christchurch. This station was erected in 1863, and served transport requirements for some years.
In reply to questions, Mr. Gould gave figures in support of his opinion that goods could be carried for 10s. a ton. Allowing 4s. 6d. per ton for cartage and delivery (then costing 5s. to 6s. a ton) there would remain 5s. 6d. per ton for the steamer. A steamer to carry 30 tons deadweight, or 45 tons measurement, could be obtained for £2,500. Working expenses would be £23 to £25 a week. Making two trips each way per week, fully loaded, that is 30 tons a trip or 120 tons a week at 5s. 6d. per ton, the earnings would be £33 a week, which would leave a fair margin of profit. It was pointed out by the Provincial Secretary (Mr. John Olliver) that these figures did not provide for wear and tear, depreciation, interest on capital, and insurance. Taking these into consideration, the expenses would be about £150 a month, or £1,800 per year, whereas the estimated earnings (£33 per week) were only £1,716 for a year. Asked whether the steamer could maintain two trips a week throughout the year, Mr. Gould stated that the steamer “Planet” had never been seven days in two years without crossing the Sumner Bar, but he could not say whether she had been able to make an average of two and one-half trips a week. The profits of the steamer “Planet” were 20 per cent, the first year, but freights were then higher. Before the introduction of steamers, freights were 40s. a ton. They were 30s. a ton up to January (1860) and since then 25s. a ton. The shareholders of the Canterbury Steam Navigation Company got no return by way of dividends for the capital invested in the “Planet.” All the gains were spent in repairs. The shareholders who were traders would derive a great advantage from the reduction of freights even if there were no dividends.
The steamer “Avon,” of the Avon Steamship Company, had made only two trips so far. She cost £2,200, and would carry 20 tons dead weight, or 35 tons measurement.
The preference for steamer carriage would only apply to ships lying in the stream. Any arrangement which did away with lightering would, of course, affect the steamer freights. Mostly all the Melbourne and Sydney ships lie alongside the wharves. Produce for parts within New Zealand would be carried in small bottoms which could use the river. He admitted that speed, in the case of root crops, was of the highest importance. The railway would be of great advantage for oversea exports.