Really useful engines

A newly-completed steam tank locomotive of WAB-class at Hillside railway workshop, Dunedin....
A newly-completed steam tank locomotive of WAB-class at Hillside railway workshop, Dunedin. Weight: 71 tons 10 hundredweight. Otago Witness, 26.2.1924
The people of Dunedin probably have little idea of the extensive operations carried out at the Hillside Workshops. When it is stated, however, that about 580 men are employed at Hillside some idea of the work carried out may be obtained. The works are just completing another engine of the WAB Class. Ten of these engines are to be constructed at Hillside. Six have been made and sent to the North Island, and the seventh will be completed by the end of this week. It, too, will run in the North Island. These engines weigh 70 tons, and the feature of the class is that the water tanks are placed on each side of the boiler and the bunkers are also part of the actual engine. They are different from the engines on the South Island expresses, as these carry the water tanks and the bunkers on tenders connected to the engines. The WAB class of engines are nearly all being made at Hillside, but two have also been constructed at Addington. They are of handsome design, the tanks on each side of the boiler giving them a compact appearance. It may be mentioned that the two tanks hold 1700 gallons of water, and the bunkers about four tons of coal. Practically the whole of the engines are made at Hillside. The latest WAB engine is to be given a trial with a heavy load on the north line as far as Mihiwaka. This is to demonstrate its ability to negotiate the grade on this section.

Minister eyes road tax on petrol

The flat tax is very properly discarded as a method of making the user pay for the roads. Therefore, the incidence is reduced to a choice between tyres or petrol, because both are consumed in proportion to the road mileage of the car. There was a clear agreement between the motor organisations and the Government that a tyre tax should be levied, and the imposition of a petrol tax would constitute a breach of that agreement. Nevertheless, the fact that the tyre tax has failed to produce the amount that was expected of it and the suggestion which Mr Coates makes, that by reason of it a double toll is exacted from motorists, do give some weight to the view that the whole question might be reconsidered. It is urged, however, that the tyre tax will eventually produce an amount that will realise expectations, the present deficiency being accounted for by a slump in the importation of tyres following upon an earlier boom. When surplus stocks have been placed the normal mark of importations will be reached, and an accurate estimate of the prospective revenue from the tyre tax will be possible. While the anxiety of the Minister to secure additional revenue may be fully appreciated, we find ourselves unable to accept his easy dismissal of the difficulty that would be involved in making exemptions from taxation in respect of petrol consumed for non-vehicular purposes. — editorial

Finegand meatworks opens

The South Otago Freezing Company's works at Finegand commenced killing on Tuesday, and stock is coming to hand freely. The board of butchers so far is a comparatively small one, and they are being kept busy. The quality of the stock is better than at last year’s opening.

Flood damage possible

It is feared that last week’s flood in the Kawarau has done serious damage to the Cromwell Development Company's works. The river is still high, and it is impossible to see exactly what happened, but it is thought that at least one of the gates at the intake has been carried away. — ODT, 17.1.1924

Compiled by Peter Dowden