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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 2 (May 2, 1938.)


Menai Bridge, L.M. & S. Railway.

Menai Bridge, L.M. & S. Railway.

Electrification of mainline railways is not proceeding very rapidly in Britain. For suburban operation, however, electricity is, by degrees, replacing steam. We were, by the way, privileged the other day to inspect new equipment intended for the Wellington-Paekakariki and Wellington - Johnsonville electrifications. This consisted of a complete electric locomotive, and seven sets of electrical equipment and material for the mechanical parts of similar locomotives to be built and erected in New Zealand; and (for the Johnsonville route) six two-coach electric trains. The English Electric Company is supplying the electrical equipment, and Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns Ltd. the mechanical parts of the locomotives. The High Commissioner for New Zealand recently travelled from London to Preston to inspect the work. The locomotives are designed to haul 250-ton passenger trains at speeds up to 55 m.p.h., and 500 ton freight trains up to a speed of 45 m.p.h. They are of 2-8-4 wheel arrangement, and, like the electric coaches, present a remarkably spick-and-span appearance.

Britain's latest electrification is that of the Newcastle and South Shields tracks of the London and North Eastern Railway, on the D.C. third-rail system, with eight-car electric trains worked on the multiple-unit principle. The Tyneside zone is one of our busiest industrial areas, and to facilitate traffic working, the routes lying alongside the River Tyne, on its northern bank, were electrified some years ago. Opportunity has now been taken to modernise the whole of the track equipment on these lines, and 132 new passenger cars have been provided. Train services, too, have been accelerated. In consequence of these efforts, the electrified tracks centred on Newcastle, rank as the most up-to-date in Britain. The new cars, of steel construction, set an entirely new standard of comfort for suburban travellers. They have a gay exterior finish in red and cream.