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


At a time when railways the world over are finding themselves hard hit by trade depression and the competition of the road carrier, it is fitting that attention should be paid to every possible means of attracting the traveller to the rail route and perfecting each piece of equipment that goes to form the rail transportation machine. There are many ways, and inexpensive ways, too, by which passenger travel may be brightened and rendered more attractive to the public. One of these is by giving to the city and country railway stations a more pleasing appearance through the employment of better lighting arrangements; strict attention to cleanliness in and around station premises; the better exhibition of posters, excursion bills, and other advertising matter; and the adoption of the most courteous and friendly attitude towards patrons and prospective patrons on the part of the station staffs of every grade.

A passenger station is, in many ways, the shop window of a railway undertaking, and it is really surprising how attractive a show may be made in this window by the exercise of a little ingenuity and painstaking endeavour. On the Home railways a great deal is being done towards brightening up passenger stations, and as part of the salesmanship campaign of the four big group railways much care is being devoted to the improvement of station appearances. On the newly electrified London suburban tracks of the Southern Railway especially, very happy results have been attained in station brightening. Quite apart from the improvements achieved through money spent on platform lengthening and widening, and the provision of roomier concourses and the like, the Southern Railway has worked wonders in the London area in brightening its stations by rearranging the lighting systems favoured at the different points, by insisting upon absolute cleanliness everywhere, and by encouraging the staffs to adorn the railway premises with pleasing flower gardens, hanging flower baskets, and similar decorations. Among the stations where this improvement plan is much in evidence are those at Wimbledon, Staines, Windsor, Richmond, and Hampton Court. At most points on the London suburban electrified tracks of the Southern Railway lending themselves to treatment, novel flood lighting is being employed with considerable effect. Outside each station the words “Southern page 20 Railway” and the name of the particular station are prominently exhibited, and by night these signs are brilliantly illuminated to catch the eye of every passer-by.