THE SUPPLY OF TRUCKS.
MINISTER OF RAILWAYS INTER- ' VIEWED.' " ! The Hon. J. A. Millar, Minister for Railways,, was seen at the Grand Hotel this morning in regard to the frequent complaints that are made about' the shortage of railway trucks, also the allegation that at some stations there are not sufficient tarpaulins and ropes. "1 have not heard about the matter before," remarked the Minister, "and all my inquiries tended to the idea that the Department was satisfactorily coping with the rapidly-growing trade on the Auckland section. In last evening's issue of the ' Star' there was a statement from mc that during the past few weeks 50 trucks had been sent up from the Wellington section, that another 50 new trucks had been diverted to Auckland, although they were intended for the Hurunui-Bluff section, that another 50 trucks would arrive shortly, and that 25 timber waggons had been converted into trucks for carrying coal. This has all been done since my last visit to Auckland, and, in addition, the Newmarket Workshops have 200 trucks in hand "for the past year's programme, and most of these must have been turned out by now." "It is also stated that more chaff could be carried in the trucks than is done at present, Mr. Millar-?''" ■- "That may be true, but the-carrying capacity of a truck of chaff is limited upwards to the size of the tunnel. Of course, there is always a rush after the Easter vacation, as the trucks have been used for the races, and this year for the conveying of the Volunteers to and from the encampment at Morrinsville. It is quite a matter of impossibility for the Railway Department or any other carrying company to have trucks standing idle, ready to be sent anywhere upon the shortest notice. Orders for trucks are attended to in the rota they are received. It is first come, first served, aS far as sending the trucks is concerned. Now, with regard to the chaff, they rush it in to the nearest station when the machines are cutting in a district, and expect to find .trucks there to carry it all to town* at "once. ' Tlie same thing occurs in the south during the rush of the grain season. As to the shortage of tarpaulins, it is perhaps not .generally known that it takes three of them to cover one truck of, chaff. The load is limited to 140 sacks, and that is what is charged for. Even if a few more sacks could be got on it would be unfair to allow one sender to get the extra sacks of chaff carried for nothing, as it would enable him to sell a little lower than the one who only sent 140 sacks. It is necessary to make some limit to the load of chaff, and the Department fixed upon 140 sacks for a truck. Another evil is that people will not order their trucks ahead. A man told mc at Morrinsville that he always gave a week's notice when"lie' wanted a truck, and he never failed to ge,t it on tlie day specified. If all others would follow that system, it would be better all round."
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