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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 5 (August 1, 1934)


page 5


An inventory might be prepared of the rewards of Nature for efforts of all kinds, which would be as varied as the sands of time and as long as a modern novel. It would show “what produces what” in all matters of effort and result —how the reward of faithfulness is trust (as many a dog has proved), how the reward of successful trial is confidence (solve one sum and all of a similar kind are easy), and so on. For one thing about Nature of which we can be absolutely sure is that, it never fails to “play the game.”

Man's arrangement of rewards according to effort or result is much more defective in the immediate assessment of values, but none-the-less certain in its effect over a period sufficiently long for Nature to take a hand. For example, if the prize in a race is too low, either the racing deteriorates or an alternative is sought in gambling. If it is too high, temptations of another kind occur. The prize-scale which approximates most closely to the ideal is the one in which popular approval leads to successful racing. The same principle applies through all businesses, and it is equally effective in such matters as feeding a cow or planting a paddock. Nature is not niggardly, and where the right adjustments are made the rewards are ample.

Of course the application of energy for any purpose must be made with judgment to produce satisfactory results. The old-time tread-mill kept a man moving from step to step without ever ascending; a modern escalator (revolving steps of another kind) carries him upward without stepping at all.

The law of compensation in Nature is now operating in favour of the railways in the gigantic transport revolution. They have gained confidence as the result of successful trial of all kinds of ways for meeting the major needs of the transport situation. They are able to use the impetus and methods of some of their own solved problems in dealing with others not yet solved. They have found the secret of how to induce people to travel by train in preference to other modes of conveyance. They are constantly improving their position in the freight field. They are now ahead in the matter of speed by land. Some of the new train speed demonstrations and schedules in England, France and the United States, seem more like the dream of a railwayman's paradise than a record of actual performances in the world of railway wheels. They are definitely —in some cases, immeasurably—ahead in the matter of comfort; and the chief advantage the road vehicle had in mobility has been overcome largely by the free use of appropriate connecting services, and the introduction of increasing variety of types (including rail cars, articulated vehicles, etc.) in the units used for the composition of trains.

That the Railways of New Zealand are in popular favour is amply proved by the figures which, month by month, have been on the ascend ing scale. That favour is un doubtedly the reward of constant, well-directed effort to make the lines serve the requirements of the Dominion to the utmost extent, consistent with sound business administration and management. The people are using the railways because they want to, but they, too, have their reward in full measure; for besides good service—to which they are entitled—they receive a kind of invisible bonus in some relief of taxation, a relief made possible out of the payment of railway profits to the Treasury.