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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 6 (October 2, 1933)


Holiday passenger traffic handled by the Home railways during the past few months attained tremendous volume. Marked accelerations of long-distance passenger trains have been the order of the day on each of the four group systems; cheap fares have given added attraction to rail travel; while novelty has been introduced by the operation of regular railway-owned aeroplane services linking the industrial centres with popular beach resorts, week-end trips on an “all included” cheap tariff by luxurious railway-owned steamers and a wonderfully wide choice of long and short distance runs by railway owned Pullman motor-charabancs.

The speeding-up of British passenger trains is especially striking. Commencing with the summer holiday time-tables operative from July last, each of the four consolidated railways made big cuts in the journey-times of the leading expresses linking London and the principal cities with the various coast resorts. This bold move has gone far to meet the keen competition of the road carrier and the privately-owned motor car.

Improvements in passenger train running, introduced on the Great Western line, are typical of the season's effort of all the Home systems. That famous train —the “Cornish Riviera Limited”—operating daily between Paddington Station, London, and Penzance, Cornwall, now accomplishes the 225 3/4 miles non-stop run between London and Plymouth in 3 hours 37 minutes, a saving of ten minutes on the old timing. The “Torbay Express,” between London and the beautiful Devonshire resort of Torquay, covers the 199 3/4 mile journey daily in exactly 210 minutes. Even the far-famed “Cheltenham Flyer” has been accelerated by five minutes. This is the train that travels from Swindon to Paddington, a distance of 77 1/4 miles, in just 65 minutes. Examination of the Great Western timetables show that every day some 1,257 miles are covered by twelve main-line trains at start-to-stop speeds of from 60 to 71 miles an hour. In two years, through consistent speeding-up of its passenger trains, the Great Western has effected an aggregate saving in train journey times of 13,637 minutes daily.