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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 11 (February 1, 1938)


Track-side County Boundary Sign, L. & N.E. Railway.

Because of increased costs, and the difficulty of securing materials, certain big development schemes on the Home railways are, for a time, being held up, examples of these schemes being big electrification works and expensive track diversions. The peculiar conditions at present existing, however, are not being allowed to interfere with the main programmes for new equipment prepared by the four group systems. In the immensity of these new equipment programmes we have a most encouraging index to railway prosperity.

Space will not permit our reviewing the current new equipment programmes of each of the Home lines, but we may consider the 1938 new equipment plans of a typical system—the Great Western—as furnishing a clear picture of the general situation. On this progressive railway, direct employment for about 5,000 persons is being given in the Swindon shops, to handle the annual renewals programme. The work includes the replacement of obsolete passenger carriages by those with improved seating, large observation windows, “no draught” ventilation and modern upholstery. Standard types of goods and coal wagons replace those of smaller types, and larger and more powerful locomotives than those being condemned.

The Great Western is building some 381 new passenger carriages, on the principle favoured by the company for some years. They all have massive steel underframes, and are entirely encased in steel, with a timber framework and a steel roof. Five restaurant and five buffet cars are being built. The buffet cars have a snack bar counter with eight “stand-up rest seats,” and seats for twenty more persons at small tables. Some 3,600 new goods and coal wagons are to be built this year. These include 300 open trucks for container conveyance, and special types for fruit and vegetables. New steam locomotives to be built total 100. Ten will be of the well-known “Castle” class for express passenger working. Approximately 5,340 tons of metal will be required for the locomotive programme, including 4,270 tons of steel, 740 tons of iron castings, and 230 tons of copper.