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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 5 (August 1, 1935)

Lucky Cows!

page 41

Lucky Cows!

The transport of livestock by rail in New Zealand is, of course, an everyday affair and mostly occurs between country stations and stockyards or freezing works.

The average distance the animals are carried is about 80 miles, but a consignment of seven valuable young shorthorn cattle, bred in the Waiuku (Auckland District), have just had a ride twelve times as far.

They met with a stroke of luck when a buyer from Alexandra, on the Otago Central line, took a fancy to them and decided that they must help to stock his own fair southern farm.

How to transport them nearly a thousand miles by land and sea was the next question. Fortunately the Railways Through Booking system is just built to deal with a problem of this kind.

As soon as the word “go” was given, the whole arrangement for this big shift was put into shape, and at 3 o'clock on a calm Monday afternoon, comfortably housed in a railway cattle wagon, they set off on their 960-mile journey.

As he kissed his young heifers good-bye, the seller gave them a goodwill offering of enough food to see them to Wellington. The railway arranged the rest. After their main trunk ride of 400 miles, the cattle were given 14 hours off the train in Wellington, where they were fed and watered before joining the steamer express, as first-class cow passengers, for a nice smooth sea trip of 175 miles to Lyttelton on Wednesday night. After another little spell and lunch and walk about at Lyttelton they joined their train for Dunedin, all fresh and frisky, on Thursday afternoon. But even greater pleasures were in store for these seven young Shorthorns, for next day they had a sightseeing run by rail on their journey across the Canterbury Plains and down through the charming approach to Otago. They were yarded and fed in Dunedin before making the run up the Otago Central line to arrive at Alexandra in fine condition at 4.15 p.m. on Saturday, after five glorious days of travel, at about 200 miles per day, through some of New Zealand's most charming scenery. Lucky cows!

Note … “Through booking by rail” is not restricted to transport of passengers and goods from any station in the North Island to any station in the South Island. The system applies also to goods and parcels consigned from, say, Wellington to Gisborne, or from Dunedin to Westport. One booking from the starting station covers the whole operation. It pays manufacturers, business firms, farmers, and the general public to take full advantage of the Railway Department's through-booking facilities.

page 42