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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 9 (April 1, 1931)


Freight traffic movement forms one of the most important activities of the modern railway. In recent times many improvements have been introduced aiming at speedier and cheaper handling of freight traffic, terminal services in particular having been considerably bettered. In countries like Britain and New Zealand, where relatively short hauls predominate, the bulk of the expense entailed in freight handling is centred around terminal services. To terminal services and terminal economies, therefore, the Home railways, like those of New Zealand, are devoting immense attention at the present juncture.

Probably the most useful device yet introduced for simplifying terminal operations, so far as small traffic is concerned, is the container. All the Home railways operate fleets of containers of different types. These greatly reduce handling, cut out the risk of damage and pilferage, and lend themselves admirably to a door-to-door service by combined rail and road transport. Apart from container operation, the Home railways are modernising their freight handling machinery by reconstructing goods depots and marshalling yards, and introducing up-to-date mobile, cranes and power-operated platform trucks at the more important goods stations.

The mobile crane is an especially useful piece of equipment in the freight depot, and often its employment renders unnecessary the installation of costly overhead lifting apparatus which has, despite its high cost, only a very limited radius of operation. Among the Home railways making most extensive use of the mobile crane in goods station operation are the L. and N.E., the L.M. and S., and the G.W. Railways. The Great Western Railway was is a leader in the campaign for the betterment of the city freight depot. This go-ahead line has already provided This go-ahead line has already providedton (London), and Temple Meads (Bristol), and is now engaged upon the reconstruction of its goods station at the important industrial centre of Wolverhampton.