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(From Our Parliamentary Reporter.)

WELLINGTON, September 28.

The annual Railway report, prepared by the Hou. Mr Cadmau for presentation to the House, affords gratifying evidence of the prosperous condition of the producing aud other industries, and also proves that Ministerial management has been efficient and economical. The number of miles open for traffic during the year 1896 97 was 2,018, being an increase of four over the previous year. The gross revenue was £1,280,158, or an increase of £103,117. The total expenditure was £789,054, or an increase of £37,G56. The excess of revenue over expenditure was £497,104. The railways gave a return on the capital cost of £3 3s 10*1 per cent., the capital cost being stated at £15,577,392, which compares well with the previous year’s return of £2 ICs per cent. The additions made to the lines and structures during the year cost £92,024, while £11,405 was expended on improvements and minor additions to train services. The receipts per train mile increased from 7s Ij'd to 7s (i-, 1 1. The number of passengers carried was four and a-half millions, being au increase of 270,961 over the previous year. The increase in season tickets issued was 0,830, and in the number of parcels carried it was 34,314. The holiday excursion .traffic, of which a special feature was made, yielded revenue to the amount of £04,039, being a considerable increase over the former year. In the goods department a total of 2,401,127 tons was carried, being an increase of 285,184 tons over the preceding year, while the increased revenue from this source was £78,813. The cumber of sheep carried increased by 444,189, but the cattle decreased 8 per cent. The gross expenditure was 01.35 of the revenue, against 03 51 the previous year. The number of miles run. by trains 3,409,218, being an increase of 101,992 train miles. The report states that the condition of the lines is steadily improving, bub the age of the lines and the larger traffic to be carried over them will necessitate very heavy renewals for some years to come. There are 116 miles of line inthe North Island and 282 miles in the South Island requiring to be relaid with heavier rails. The increased age of the wooden bridges also necessitates larger expenditure year by year. By judicious capital expenditure on the main lines, so as to admit of using more powerful engines, better results may bo anticipated. The head office expenditure remains about stationary. £04,717 was expended on additions (ind improvements to the open lines. Orders were given for the building of 4 powerful locomotives, 32 long bogie passenger carriages, 2 brake vans, 6 horse boxes, 5 cattle trucks, 10 covered goods waggons, 185 high-side waggons, 2 ffczjn meat trucks, 25 ballast hopper waggons; and up to March 31 £32.810 had been expended on this work. Seventeen cars and 95 waggons were completed, and the balance are in course of construction. Considerable sums were spent in gas for lighting the cars, and £3,860 for materials for rolling stock under construction. £24,789 was expended during the year for additions to siding accommodation, station buildings, dwellings, platforms, signals, sheep and cattle yards. As to the Midland Railway, the results of its working are thus stated:—The revenue for the year was £17,709, as compared with the period from 27th May, 1895, to 31st March, 1890, which yielded £13,205. The expenditure was £14,885, as compared with the period from 27th May, 1895, to 31at March, 1896, of £8,831. The rate of expenditure to receipts on the lines of the colony this year is 83.77, as against CO 88 last year. The very heavy expenditure, as against last year’s, has been incurred on account of arrears of work in maintenance of the linos, flood damages, and painting iron bridges. The expenditure for maintainacce is not likely to fall for some time to come, as a good deal of work has to be overtaken.

The estimated revenue for the current year is £1,275,000, and the expenditure £820,000.

Many of thealterationsmade infares during the year are experimental. The Government have decided to reduce all classified rates for frozen meat, lime, firewood, chaff, and a number of other articles as from the Ist October next.

The report justly remarks that New Zealand's record for safe railway working is unique. Gif at diffic ilty has been experienced in meeting the public demands an account othedi ficicmcy of rollicgstock, and very general complaints have been made by passengers and traders. With the remarkable growth in passengers and goods traffic now taking place, and which from all appearances is likely to continue, a considerable sum will have to be spent on additional locomotives, carriages, and waggons; and the safety of the appliances at present successful in carrying on the colony’s trade is seriously interfertd with owing to the want of funds necessary. During the current year steps must be taken to provide additional locomotives, cars, waggons, and gas lamps for the remainder of the cars in Southern sections, as well as gas plant and lamps for the Auckland, Wellington, Napier, and Taranaki districts. The work of improving the lines and biidgee, of adding to the accommodation of stations, and providing for the safety of existing appliances is to be proceeded with as rapidly as possible ; but these works cannot possibly be paid for out of working expenses, which during the current year will be seriously taxed on account of the extra expenditure which has been and must be incurred in repairing flood damages in the Wanganui and Napier districts. Parliament will, therefore, be asked to vote a sum of £200,000 to be expended on capital account for those objects. Id will be also necessary to make provision to prevent crowding on the platforms ; for improvements to be made in the methods of leasing the refreshment rooms; for improved passenger services between Dunedin and Invercargill; for a tri-weekly instead of bi-weekly train service between Wellington and New Plymouth ; for considerable works in connection with additional accommodation at stations ; and extra locomotives and rolling stock must be at once provided in anticipation of opening the Government line to Woodville in January next. The report was laid on the table to-day (Tuesday).

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OUR RAILWAYS., Issue 10431, 28 September 1897

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OUR RAILWAYS. Issue 10431, 28 September 1897

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