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RAILWAY ARRANGEMENTS., Issue 8007, 9 September 1889
The meeting of a deputation representing the farming interest in Southland with Mr Hannay, one of the Railway Commissioners, was more important than many others which bulk more largely in the public eye. The object was to advocate the carriage by rail of lime for agricultural purposes at such a rate as to make the use of that invaluable quickener and fertiliser universal in the cold regions of the South, The arguments adduced by Mr Bain, who spoke generally for the deputation, and by Mr Mackintosh and others who expounded the subject from the agriculturist’s point of view, were conclusive as to the call for a reduction of the present rates. Such a call is based equally on the individual interests of the farmers, on the interests of the colony, and on the interests of the railways themselves. If the produce of the lands of the colony is to be increased by 50 or 100 per cent,—and the latter supposition is not a preposterous
one for large areas of southern soil—then it needs no argument to prove that to carry lime, the agent in this revolution, at a nominal and uniform rate over the railways —which are the property of the people—would be one of the wisest and most profitable measures that the railway authorities could adopt. It needs no argument to carry this conviction home at least to the common sense of the people. In the particular instance with which we have been dealing the Commissioners have hitherto been deaf to solicitation and argument. Let them listen for a moment to the difference between their method and the method of a great railway company at Home, the wellknown Caledonian, which now ranks so high for enterprise and stands so high in the railway share list. The manager is a man of shrewdness, foresight, and resource, and has cast aside evidently the narrow principle that demands a profit direct and instant on everything that the railway carries. We are informed on the best authority that under his enlightened and liberal sway the Caledonian Railway carries lime at the rate of one shilling per ton —we presume over a great length of line, if not over tho whole extent of the company’s rails. He knowe very well that the lime is going to be one of his best agents in making freight foi him in another way. Again, if a papermill, say, is started in proximity to the line, instead of smothering it at the outset with an oppressive tariff, this manager actually, we are informed, for a time, carries material for nothing. His profit, he announces, will come by-and-bye. Now, it is impossible not to ask, had New Zealand secured the services of a man like this—a man who would have governed on the true principles of commerce what would have been the freight of agricultural lime hero to-day? We write without the slightest feeling of hostility _to the able men who are now controlling the destinies of our railways. But it ie necessary they should know that their policy is being watched and keenly tried by those who, if they are not railway experts, can at least discern whether tho principles that inspire that policy or the opposing principles that govern railway management at Home arc moat conducive to the prosperity of the colony. Wo shall regard the appeal to be made by Mr Hannay to his colleagues on the question of lime carriage as the crux of the Commissioners’ real sense of the part which tho railways have to play in the economy of the country. It will have to bo borne in mind that tho Milburn Cement Company have promised to large consumers a reduction of 2s a ton on their lime. It remains to be seen what abatement the Railway Commissioners will make in the interests of the railways and of agriculture. —‘ Southland Times.’
RAILWAY ARRANGEMENTS., Issue 8007, 9 September 1889
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