rail_up wrote:Against road travel, the relative times *may* parallel in some situations. I am sure you could have a non-stop rail service from Auckland to Hamilton that would do the trip in just over an hour, but in general, rail is going to be the 'less stress', slower means of traveling.
A bit slower than the car might have been acceptable, but services were extremely slow in the immediate post war period. A Fiat railcar took nearly six hours to get from Auckland to Tauranga, and I suspect that a car might have been able to do that same trip in four or five.
Of course, there was that seven year period after World War II where cars were slowly taking over, and train timetables were still at war economy levels.
rail_up wrote:Geoff hit it right from the start when he said that the public transport systems in NZ pretty much died when private cars took over. We are a nation that loves its cars.
We only grew to love our cars because the alternative was so poor. Had NZR aimed to speed up their services from the 1920s onwards, cars might not have taken off so quickly. The other issue is that in the major centres, growth had extended beyond the limits of the tram network by the 1930s - for instance, in Auckland, we saw development in Mangere Bridge, Orakei and Takapuna during that period.
williamn wrote:But why did the car cause rail to die more in NZ than in other places? The coming of the car had a big effect everywhere, but rail networks didn't die completely, and rail has made quite comeback in recent years in many places.
Simply put, NZR was run by bureaucrats. Those bureaucrats were more worried about finding ways to waste money than to actually create an organisation responsive to the needs of its customers.