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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 2 (May 1, 1934.)


Theoretically, every train should “make the grade.” The amount of load each class of engine can pull is duly scheduled for the ruling grade on every section of railway, and loads are arranged to comply with this schedule. The standard factors are taken into account, and, mathematically, every hill should be surmounted without undue difficulty, and time should be kept with unerring accuracy. But occasionally freight trains, or more rarely, passenger trains, “lie down” on the grade through some combination of factors not included in the original sum— greasy rails, heavy-pulling trucks, poor coal, sluggish engines, creeping brakes, or merely the static reluctance and perversity of inanimate things in general. And when this occurs it is sometimes very disturbing. It perhaps throws other trains out of sequence, causes loss of time, and disarranges a multitude of plans dependent upon punctual running.

To guard against such mishaps there must be close understanding between all related sections of the service—those who build the rolling-stock, buy the fuel, guard the track, prepare and drive the engines, draft the schedules, make up the trains, and inspect the appliances.

From the economic aspect the railways have been called upon to “make the grade” during the past year or two under very difficult conditions, and that they have done so with success is due to team-work, judgment, confidence, and enterprise in carrying through the major transport business of the Dominion. The unqualified Press approval which followed the announcement of the proximate financial results of the past railway year is good proof that the railways have made the grade with flying colours. Conditions show a general tendency to improve. Trade is on the mend. The thaw is on in the channels of commerce. The period of business stagnation is past. The railways, having made the grade in the hard years, are in popular favour for the good service they have performed towards the improvement of national finance, and are in good heart to make the best of the brighter prospects ahead. The year's figures are not yet finalised, but those to the 3rd March (that is, with only four weeks to go) show an increase of half a million in passengers, 131,000 tons in goods, and #245,000 in net operating revenue over the corresponding term in the previous year. These results indicate a growing confidence by the people in their railways—a confidence that whatever happens—flood, fire, earthquake, pestilence, or depression—the railways will still carry on and be the firm mainstay, the dependable service to meet the country's transport needs. And they show further that the many improvements made in facilities, equipment and personal service methods, are recognised and appreciated by those in whose interests they have been introduced.