Vitrine: Rail Humour
Rail workers used particular code words to transmit information. A few examples (with meanings) were SLASH (Stop accepting until further advised coal and coke to ); THROSTLE (Keep on hand for my order); CICERO (Special train(s) will run as under. Advise all concerned); CREOLE (Arrange to work forward) and SKUNK (Secure connection with ). No doubt if British artist W. Heath Robinson (1872-1944) had known of these obscure codes, he would have applied his imagination to them. As it was he amused himself and others with his contraptionesque sketches, as did the famed Punch artist Frederick Rowland Emett (19061990), who was equally well-known for his whimsical cartoons. In between these humorous rail books is Webbers scrapbook detailing the Main Trunk line, including the famed Raurimu Spiral.
S. Evelyn Thomas, Laughs Along the Lines. Series Two. London: Good Humour Publications, ;
Pacific Lines, South Pacific Bulletin, January 1956;
W. Heath Robinson, Railway Ribaldry. London: Great Western Railway Paddington Station, 1935;
Emett, Home Rails Preferred. London: Faber & Faber, 1948;
____, Buffers End. London: Faber & Faber, 1949;
____, The Forgotten Tramcar and Other Drawings. London: Faber & Faber, 1952;
____, Far Twittering. Or The Annals of a Branch Line. London: Faber & Faber, 1949;
____, Saturday Slow. London: Faber & Faber, 1948.
____, Sidings and Suchlike. London: Faber & Faber, 1948;
New Zealand in Maero Journals Scrapbook, .