The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 2 (June 1, 1933)
Railway Progress in New Zealand — General Manager'S Message
Railway Progress in New Zealand
General Manager'S Message
The Financial Year, 1932–1933, In Review.—The financial results of last year's working of the railways are now available and the figures that are published show that for the year 1932–33, £6,034,403 was earned with an expenditure of £5,183,859, leaving net earnings of £850,554. This last mentioned figure represents the dividend that will be available to the Treasury as representing the owners of the Railways and in these days when even old-established concerns are showing not only decreased dividends, but in all too many cases losses instead of dividends, this result can be regarded from that point of view with a large amount of satisfaction. Probably more satisfactory still is the fact that a gradual improvement in the financial results has been achieved in the last two years, despite the increasingly unfavourable general trading position. Briefly stated the improvement has been effected by strenuous effort to obtain as much as possible of all classes of traffic and at the same time to keep expenditure down to the lowest level consistent with safe, reasonable service.
Wherever the Department has under taken the running of road services, it has been done as either supplementary or alternative to the running of trains. The figures of rail and road passenger traffic must therefore be taken together in viewing the progress of this side of railway operations. When this is done it is seen that the Department carried a total of over 21 million passengers in both 1932 and 1933, the total decrease in the latter year being less than half a million. In view of the absence of Easter traffic from the 1933 year and the general backward state of business, this result must be regarded as satisfactory. A pleasing feature is that the number of standard fare train journeys made during the year was 5 per cent. higher than in 1932.
The tonnage of goods decreased by over 300,000 tons to 5,490,000 (the level of the year 1910) and the revenue by £274,000. Five-sixths of the tonnage decrease and more than half of the revenue decrease can be attributed to coal traffic which showed unusual variations—unduly high in 1932 owing to the special requirements of the Auckland Power Board through the Arapuni Hydro-electric Works being out of commission and unduly low in 1933 chiefly through industrial difficulties in the mining industry.
Other principal decreases in tonnage and revenue were in cement, road metal, and bulk benzine. All of these are in practically non-competitive lines and the decreases are here due entirely to trade conditions. When trade revives an immediate improvement in the railway position in freights such as these may be confidently anticipated.
Staff Training.—The value of the Railway Correspondence School established some years ago and of the examination tests (elementary, intermediate and senior) conducted in connection therewith—tests which must be passed before further progress can be made in the service—has been amply demonstrated in these recent years of keen competition for traffic. The system of staff training and examination aims, of course, at a higher standard of efficiency and there is no doubt that much of the satisfaction which the Department's clients now so frequently express regarding the good service they receive is evidence that this aim is being achieved.