THE PROPOSED TRAIN ARRANGEMENTS.
A publio meeting, oonvened by the Mayor, to consider the proposed alterations In the train arrangements, was held at the Borough Council Chambers last evening There was a moderate attendance and the Mayor occupied the ohalr.
The Mayor said he had called the meeting at the request of a number of burgesses who desired that the publio generally might have an opportunity of expressing aa opinion upon the proposed altoratlot aln the rallw y time table. H^ asked thoaa present to formulate their their vlewa. Personally he thought the proposed alterations In the service between Ashburton anl Tltnaru wonld not work at all well, as people from the south attending stook sales here would not be able to get home by rail the same day.
Me W, 0. Walker said that as aooa as he ascertained that alterations were contemplated, he sat to work to fiod out. how far they wouli salt this district. One or two of the changes as announced would,; he foaad, prejudicially affaot the settlers In the BOUthera part of the county and he determined to fiad oat what was really Intended He communicated with the Railway Oommls iloners and he was glad to find that they expressed their willingness to receive any suggestion or objeo ioni, and maet them as far as possible. A great deal of the friction between the pabllo end the Railway Dapartment In the pist was caused by the chariness of the department In taking the pabllo Into its confidence so that mutually satisfactory arrangements might be made, and If the Commissioners' altered thia state of affairs he hailed *lth gladness the change In the oontrol of tha railways, As far as tbe proposed alterations, which were semUoffiolally annonnoad, were conoerned, it struok him that the starting of tbe express at so late an honr as eleven o'clock was a mistake. Two reasons for the change were given, but to hi mind they were not sufficient. One was that by starting the express at a later hoar passengers by steamers from the North would always be able to oatoh It. In six oases out of seven the steamers oanght tbe train now, and even If the train were started at a later hour possibly the Union Company might delay the departuie of their steamers from Wellington, as probably It was of considerable moment to them that that they shonld have as long a working day there as possible. The other reason adduoed was that through passengers might have time to transact their business m either Danedin or Ohrftr.oharoh, as the oase might be, and return by the train without loilng a d»y. He thought that the number of passengers who came within this category was trifling, Taking the year round, the number of through passengers waa exoeedlDgly few, rarely exceeding a doaan. A few years ago a return on this subject was prepared and laid before Parliament, and It was surprising to find how few through passengers there really were, the express being maintained by the traffic between the inland towns. As far as the paople on tbe branch lines — fcjethven and Mount
Somers— were concerned, the alteration would not fait them at all. However, he would not press this point ja»t now, bat would wait to hear what the poblio of Ashburton, the largest oentre m the distrlot, had to say. The Mayor said that the alterations In the express time table wonld benefit only a few commercial men and "globe* trotetß," and the general pablle woald be muoh Inconvenienced. If the Oom* mlssloners really wanted to save the time of business men they should run the express at night, with Pullman care, bat he snpposed this was rather Utopian for New Zealand m these days of retrenchment. He then went on to examine the timetable m detail. There wan not a great deal to complain of lo the service between Ohrlstohurch and Ashbarton, with the exception, of the great length, of time the ordinary traloß would take In completing the fifty mile journey, but the distrlot betweea Ashbarton and Timarn was treated very badly. Two trains were to leave Tlmarn for Asbburton, one at ?.3P a.m. and the other ut neon, bat this latter would run on Mondays, Wednesdays and 1 Sitardays only, thus a man from the South who attended Taesday's market here would be unable to return home the same day, Another glaring mistake was that an Ashburton man could not go to Timaru, transact any business and retarn home In one day. The first train from Asbburton reached Timaru about balfpast two, when it would praotioally be too late to traneaot any business at the banks or courts. la reply to Mr Parnell It was stated that the 7.1Q a.m. train from Ashburton to Ohrlstohuroh would be continued. ' Some irregular discussion took place. Mr Walker said that it appeared te him there were to be tour trains dally between Ashborton and. Qhrlatehurch. This number w«a m excess of their requirements and the trains were badly arranged. Three trains with a well arranged time-table were all that was neoasaary, Mr Pqrne.ll r»«b,ar doubted that the Gomnjlaaioneca would g'va us four trains da'ly.
Ut R. Frledlander thought that Ashbarton was very well nerved at present. Ha would move "That In the opinion of thla meeting It U desirable that the present time-table ■hould be adhered to, ai being the moit suitable In the Interests cf Ashburton and the surrounding districts." Sinoe the proposed alteration had been made public. ■ great many letters had anpeared In print showing the hardships to wbloh whole districts would be subjeoted. If the alterations were oavrled Into effect the express would be of little use. He did not think It was any hardships for people trvelllog to get up at eight o'clock as at present. MrPurnell seoonded the motion. He did not think it advisable that the express ■hoald be altored. The through passengers, In whose interest the proposal was made, were not unny. A great part of thorn travelled on pleasure and of course did not want to return the next day, the number who wanted to do thjs being very small. Ho waa certain tbe proposed ohange wou'd Involve the Department In | loss, and ot ooursa would cause great publlp Inconvenience. Wha^ was wanjfld was an aooeleratloo of the speed of the ordinary trains. The motion was put to the meeting and oarrled unanimously. A lengthy dlsouislon then took plaoa as to what should be done fq oase the Oommlstloners should not nee at to allow the servlpe to remain as at present. Mr Walker said that possibly the Oommtisioners would not consent to deorease tbe speed of the express as proposed. What we wanted was to be served as well as at present, and to this end It would be necessary that the express should atart before 11 o'olook.
The Mayor endorsed the remarks of Mr Walker. Let the express start at 8 o'olook and do the journey m two hours less than at present*
Mr Reatell pointed out that the Mayoi'u proposal waa not workable. If it ware followed out the express from Danedln woold arrive here about 3 o'olook, an hoar that might not suit business mnn wishing to go to Ohrlstohuroh.
Mr W. B. Mobs moved — MTnat If the Commissioners see fib to adhere to their proposals they be asked to alter the days on whioh the trl-weekly trains ran between Aahburtoa and Tlmaru, to Taeodays, Thursdays and Saturdays." Mr G. F. Soott seconded the motion. He thought this was the only proposed change that affected Ashburton, Mr H. Zander moved " That the attention of the Gomralsiionera be drawn to the leogtb, of tta& pwpowd. to to
taken by tbe mixed train, and that they Di ask^ If the lime oeewpied by tha j jorney between Ohrlstohuroh and TJmara ooald not be reduaed at least by one houi." Mr Tasker aeoondad the motion which was carried Mr Resell moved "That In the opinion of this matting tha express should leave Chrlßtohuroh and Danedin at an earlier hour than eleven o'oiook so as to avoid travelling after dark as muoh as posalble." if Mr Fawoett seconded the motion whtoh wag carried. It was decided to send copies of the reiolutlons to the Railway Commissioners. A vote of thanks to the chair concluded the proceedings.
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