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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 15, Issue 1 (April 1, 1940)

The West Coast Floods — Praise for the Department's Good Work

page 61

The West Coast Floods
Praise for the Department's Good Work

The services rendered by the Railways Department in overcoming the difficulties associated with the transport of passengers during the recent serious floods on the West Coast, have won many expressions of appreciation from travellers on the trains affected. The following are some typical tributes received by the Department.

From One of New Zealand's Most Highly Esteemed and Prominent Citizens.

In justice to your staff I think I should write to say that I have occasion to travel by rail quite often, and am always delighted by the courtesy and efficiency with which the service is operated. In particular, however, I am moved to write because of my experience while going by train from Christchurch to Greymouth on Monday, the 4th March. The service had been seriously disorganised by floods and consequent wash-outs. Accordingly there were unduly large numbers on the train. When we reached Otira it was necessary to improvise transport by road to Jacksons over very badly damaged roads, and thereafter by makeshift trains to Greymouth. Your staff at Otira Station, the train staffs and your bus drivers, all excelled themselves by their good sense, their competence and their tolerance and consideration for the passengers. In particular your bus drivers did a very difficult job in traversing such badly damaged roads with great skill and, indeed, with great courage too, having regard to the heavily loaded and unwieldy vehicles they were driving.

Altogether, I was very much impressed with the manner in which these abnormal difficulties were overcome, and as one of the passengers concerned I would like you to know of my appreciation of the treatment we received.

* * *

From Mr. W. F. Herrick, General Secretary, United Commercial Travellers’ and Warehousemen's Association of New Zealand.

It is my pleasure to give the following extract from the Report of the Committee Meeting of the Otago C.T. & W. Association:—

“Appreciation by Travellers of Railway Department:

Mr. A. W. Clapp reported that the expeditious manner in which the Railway Department had repaired the roads and rail, and so facilitated transport following the recent severe floodings on the West Coast, had been the subject of very favourable comment by travellers on the Coast. The damage done had been extensive, and it was a great credit to the Railway Department to have effected repairs in so short a time.”

This will be published in the March issue of “The N.Z. Traveller.” It is only one instance of comments made by our members.

I may state that over the years the Railway Department has been looked upon as the acme of perfection in repairing damage (by whatever means caused) in a remarkably short time—this is evidenced by the minor delays experienced, and these with a minimum of inconvenience.

* * *

From Mr. Geo. Davidson, Secretary, Commercial Travellers’ & Warehousemen's Association of Otago.

At our recent monthly meeting, members of our Association who have recently been travelling on the West Coast, spoke in very appreciative terms of the excellent work which had been done by the Railway Department in clearing and rebuilding the line which was badly damaged by recent floods, and thereby enabling goods and passenger traffic to proceed with a minimum of delay.

It was felt by the Committee that such references should be passed on to the Department.

* * *

From the Rev. W. A. Curzon-Siggers, St. Martin's Vicarage, North East Valley, Dunedin.

I should like to express my appreciation of the work of two members especially of your Department in arranging during the difficulties caused by the floods at Greymouth for the transport of passengers from that town who had urgent reasons for getting to their various homes. I refer especially to Mr. Smart, at Greymouth, Stationmaster, who made every endeavour to arrange transport through such routes as might be open on Thursday and Friday of last week, and ultimately fixed up for a party of about eighteen to go to Westport and there be picked up by a Railways Service Car, and Mr. Hanna of the Railways Road Services who arranged the transport from Westport via Blenheim to Christchurch and himself took the party and arranged meals and accommodation for those desiring it. By the good work of these officials and their staffs three people were able to get to Wellington via Picton and I with others was enabled to get back to Dunedin: in my case I was thus able to fulfil engagements last Sunday which I had anticipated having to cancel.

I thought that the Department might care to have a personal testimony to the courtesy and organising ability of these officials during a very trying time when ordinary communications had broken down.