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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 8 (November 1, 1937)

Railways Made Tour a Pleasure for Springboks

Railways Made Tour a Pleasure for Springboks

The tour of the 1937 Springboks through New Zealand was a fairly strenuous one so far as travelling was concerned, and an important factor in the smooth manner in which the big party was transported around the Dominion was the splendid organisation of the Railways Department (states S. V. McEwen in “New Zealand Sporting Life.”)

The Springboks and the supporters travelling with them speak highly of the service, comfort and efficiency of the New Zealand railways, and as one of the newspaper correspondents travelling with them throughout the tour I can endorse their remarks.

Everything possible was done by the department to ease the burden of heavy travel by the players. Throughout the tour they were accompanied by Mr. Roy Reisor, business agent of the Auckland Commercial Branch of the service, who fulfilled the duties of guide, philosopher and friend so capably that no one in the party had the slightest cause for worry.

The Springboks had special day cars allotted to them, and where night travel was necessary there was ample sleeping accommodation In some cases, to avoid long delays that might prove trying to the players, special trains comprising an engine, two cars and the baggage van made fast runs all designed to reduce to a minimum the time the South Africans would spend a-wheel.

The feeding of the party en route was another triumph for the Department's organisation.

The elimination of those irritating experiences which usually befall strangers in a strange land made travel in New Zealand very pleasant for the South Africans who have expressed their grateful thanks for the splendid way in which they were catered for.

This acknowledgment would not be complete without a word of thanks to Mr. J. Curran, the department's official baggage man with the party—a man with a well-planned schedule that never seemed to go astray. His work made usually boresome travel a pleasure.

Eager were they to tell their fellows, of the wonderful place they had found; to tell the deer-stalkers of the great herds that roam the Forgotten River valley—have roamed it for years in absolute peace and security, undisturbed by the sight of man; more eager still were they to tell the ski-runners of the unrivalled possibilities of the Olivine Plateau as a future winter sports ground. Even in February those two men had longed to feel the run of ski beneath them, when they saw those perfect down-hill runs. From high up the sides of the encircling peaks clean, smooth snow-slopes come swiftly down on every side, flattening as their height decreases, finally to run out onto the dead level of the plateau—a ski-ing ground to dream of—and even in the middle of summer the snow conditions were almost perfect.

The way is difficult as yet, but time will make it easier. Tracks and roads will be made (indeed, a road is even now well on its way down the Hollyford Valley, where, but a short time ago, none but the most hardy would enter), and the distance will be gradually shortened, until in the end the way will be opened to all, and a paradise indeed provided for the tramper, the deerstalker, the ski-runner, and the climber—a paradise which in time is certain to become one of New Zealand's most popular holiday resorts.

On the summit of the Brideburn Peak.

On the summit of the Brideburn Peak.