Thursday, October 2, 2008

Raceday rail tribulations: 1885

From the NZ Herald, 7 April 1885.

"The railway management in connection with the Ellerslie races was not so good yesterday as on Saturday, possibly because there was a larger crowd to handle. Still, when a train takes over an hour to run five miles, and gets into town long after the cabs and omnibuses which started when the train had left the racecourse platform for Auckland, even Job himself would growl.

"Last evening a train left Ellerslie about ten minutes to six o'clock, leaving 300 people on the racecourse, and got stuck at Remuera. After some delay a train came out from Auckland and passed it. A fresh start was then made for Newmarket, when another long delay occurred, apparently waiting for a second train to come out from Auckland, during which interval the delayed train could have gone to Auckland four times over.

"Some people got out and walked to town.

"At last the town train came out, and the Ellerslie train got in motion, but only to make a retrograde movement under the Remuera bridge, and thence shunted to the Kaipara line siding. This was the last straw which broke the camel's back. Hundreds in the train began to hoot and yell. There were loud calls for the Railway Manager, but that functionary, if about, prudently kept out of view.

"In a few minutes the train got underweigh again, and, amid a chorus of hootings and groans, moved out of the station. At the Auckland railway station, which were reached past seven o'clock, three groans were given for the Railway Manager, which were given as heartily as it was possible to do, and having thus eased their feeling, they separated to their several homes."

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