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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 6 (October 1, 1930)

After Forty Years — Retirement of Mr. Gavin Wilson

page 59

After Forty Years
Retirement of Mr. Gavin Wilson

Mr. Gavin Wilson, who has had a long and distinguished career in the Mechanical Engineering Branch of the Railways Department, retired on superannuation a few weeks ago after completing forty years’ service. On the eve of his retirement he was met by a large gathering of officers and members of the Locomotive and Mechanical Branches at Wellington, and presented with a gold lever watch, suitably inscribed, as a token of the high esteem in which he was held by his fellow members in the Railway service.

On making the presentation, Mr. E. T. Spidy, in the course of his remarks, expressed regret that Mr. Wilson was severing his connection with the service in which he had served so long and so honourably. Mr. Wilson's experience, gained during a period of forty years, was invaluable to the Department, and his retirement was a distinct loss to the service. He hoped Mr. Wilson would live many years to enjoy his well-earned rest.

Other officers spoke in similar terms and paid a tribute to Mr. Wilson's devotion to the highest interests of the Department, to his ever ready assistance on all occasions and to his charming personality.

On rising to respond, Mr. Wilson was greeted with applause. He recalled many interesting incidents throughout the long period of his service with the Department and expressed regret that the gathering of his fellow officers on that occasion marked the termination of his official career. He made reference to his always pleasant relationship with members of the staff and felt that he was leaving the service with their genuine regard and good wishes. This would always be a precious memory. The gift which he accepted feelingly would be treasured as a reminder of his happy association with the Railways Department.

Mr. Wilson is the youngest son of the late Mr. W. Wilson, who was well known in Dunedin as the father of the engineering trade of Otago and who, during the gold-mining rush, about 1870, was the owner of the Otago Foundry which, at the time, was the largest engineering shop in New Zealand.

Mr. Wilson served his apprenticeship at locomotive fitting at the Hillside Railway Workshops and for some years after was employed on the Picton section. In 1900 he was appointed draftsman on the staff of the Locomotive Superintendent, Wellington, and subsequently became Technical Clerk to the Chief Mechanical Engineer. In 1918 he was appointed Assistant Locomotive Engineer and stationed at Petone. In 1920 he was sent to Great Britain as Inspecting Engineer, in charge of a large contract for locomotives and rolling stock. On his return to New Zealand in 1922, he was appointed Relieving Locomotive Engineer, being attached to the Chief Mechanical Engineer's Office, and subsequently was designated Locomotive Engineer in charge of the South Island Railways. In 1926 he was transferred to Wellington, to take up special duties in the Chief Mechanical Engineer's Office, where he had been stationed until his retirement.

Mr. Gavin Wilson, recently retired on superannuation after forty years’ service.

Mr. Gavin Wilson, recently retired on superannuation after forty years’ service.

page 60

Mr. C. A. Marcus.

The death occurred at Wellington on 5th October, 1930, at the age of 92 years, of Mr. C. A. Marcus, formerly Stationmaster at Timaru. Mr. Marcus came to Wellington from Queensland and obtained employment on the construction of the Hutt railway. On the opening, in April, 1874, of the line from Wellington to Lower Hutt, he was appointed Guard, and held that position till January, 1878, when he was appointed Stationmaster at Marton. In April of the same year he was transferred in a similar capacity to Halcombe, and in December, 1880, to Wanganui. He remained at Wanganui till May, 1896, when he was promoted to Timaru. He retired on superannuation on 17th October, 1904, and on his retirement took up his residence in Wellington.

The Belgian State Railways.

The Belgian State Railways comprise about 3,100 miles of line, of the standard European gauge of 4ft 8 1/2in. Although Government property the Belgian Railways are administered by a company styled the Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer Belges, which took control on September 1st, 1926.

The characteristic feature of the Belgian Railway undertaking is its great length in proportion to the area of the country. Including narrow-gauge railways, Belgium possesses 5,780 miles of track to an area of about 11,600 square miles, or .35 miles per square mile, a far higher ratio than that of any other country in the world. Owing to the density of the population—665 inhabitants to the square mile—the number of stations and halts is very large. On the State Railways there are 1,367 stations, or one station for every 2.15 miles of line. For the same reason, and because of the small area of land, hauls are very short and marshalling yards numerous. Station sidings total 3,000 miles—practically as high a figure as that of the running lines —illustrating this feature of Belgian railway operation.