Thursday, October 2, 2008

"A Record Flight "... on the Kaipara rail line

From the Waitemata News, 19 June 1913.

"Regarding the fine recently imposed on a New Lynn settler, a good story is told of a contractor and the County Engineer, who were travelling on the Kaipara line, on which it is fitting that the incident should have taken place, owing to the velocity of the trains there.

"It is a regulation of the Railways Department that gelignite should not be carried at any cost, and it is a punishable offence for a passenger to take this explosive into a railway carriage. Gerald met Mac at the Auckland station, and both were carrying parcels of like size and wrapping. Gerald's contained gelignite and Mac's contained a plum cake, probably with which to regale the Helensville girls with. Both stood on the platform next the guard's van and placed their respective parcels at their feet.

"All went well, till the train was about to leave one of the way stations -- which we will call Whakapukatitree, for the sake of argument -- but here the starting jolt of the train caused one of the parcels to fall directly in front of the wheel of the guard's van. Both sports noticed this, and to the astonishment of the guard both hopped with alacrity off the train. Mac beating Gerald by an eyelash in a hundred yards sprint for safety.

"Fortunately, it was the plum cake that was cut in half and not the explosive, and a calamity was averted.

"On seeing what had really resulted, the pair speedily overhauled the train, now moving out of the station, and explained to the guard that they had simultaneously seen a coin lying in the road and had contested for its possession. They escaped a fine, but -- all men are liars."

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