The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit FRIDAY, MAY 16, 1890. THE RAILWAYS AND THE GRAIN TRAFFIC.
Messieurs, the Commissioners who form the irresponsible and autocratic triumvirate which has the administration of railway matters in New Zealand, are doubtless congratulating themselves on being able to show this year a nett return of 3 per cent, albeit there are . people—Mr Yaile for instance as one of them—who maintain that under, a different system of management it would be quite possible to make the •lines earn 4,' or even 5 per cent, and yet at' the same time better serve the public convenience. Even supposing that .these latter persons are mistaken (and we dp not think they are) as regards the possibility of securing better financial results, upon the second point, namely that the public con- 1 venience could be better served than it now is, there can be no doubt whatever. This' is especially evident in connection with the grain traffic. The complaints which were made last year and in- previous years are again being .made, and made with reason. Insufficiency of rolling stock for. the carriage of the grain and inadequency of provision for its safety from- the weather while awaiting despatch, are the causes of complaint, and grumblings many and deep are heard from North and South. Writing to one of our contemporaries a Methven farmer says: —" Night after night you may see standing on the various platforms from 5 to 20 farmers at each station waiting in hopes that some trucks might come up,- and when two or three trucks do happen to arrive there is a regular fight forpossessionofthem. The farmers have to load them* themselves during the night, and then the loaded trucks are despatched to Christchurch the following morning at about 7 o'clock. Probably from 30,000 to 40,000 sacks of grain are standing out on these platI forms exposed to the weather, and should a heavy south-wester come on, and last two or three days, the damage done in this one district would more than equal the sum which the Railway Commissioners claim to have saved on the administration o£ the railways throughout New Zealand." Again the Pukerau correspondent of the " South . land Times " writes that a great quantity of grain is stacked on the railway siding there. He says:—" The goods shed is also full, and there is nothing for it but to stack the grain outside, owing to the scarcity of trucks. We.re plenty of tarpaulins available things would not be so bad, but in some cases grain has to be left exposed to the weather, as many as 2000 sacks of oats being said to be stacked waiting for trucks." Numbers of other instances could be cited, but the foots are so patent that it is unnecessary to say more, save that it is high time the Commissioners took steps to remedy a state of tilings that presses very seriously upon fanners who, with the present low prices of grain, need every consideration at the hands of the Government, whose business it should be to sea into this matter.