AJHR Totals

This page presents data on cranes in railway service as listed in the annual reports tabled in Parliament and recorded in the Appendicies to the Journal of the House of Representatives (AJHR).

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The Railway Statements in the AJHR from 1881 to 1915 present a wide range of detail on the operation of the working railways. Amongst the summaries of locomotives and rolling stock up to that time are a breakdown of the numbers of cranes of various types in service on the various railways sections. These give an interesting picture of the development of equipment stocks during this period. Unfortunately much of this was discontinued during World War I as it was thought the information might be of service to 'the enemy'. Equally unfortunately, it was not included again after the war ended. But what information there is in the AJHR can be very useful.

Presented below are:

Analysis of Crane Totals by year: The following graphs examine the data as grouped under a number of classifications for the data in the table below. This is a preliminary examination of the data, and some suggestions for areas which need to be looked at more closely!

Graph ofThe AJHR data provides an interesting picture of what was happening with the crane stocks in terms of increases and decreases. But to understand that picture is is necessary to understand the historic context in which the changes were occuring. The working railways arose from the public works projects started by Vogel in 1870. They became a seperate entity in 1880 which is when the data becomes more accessible. The early railway growth suffered as the financial situation turned to economic depression from the early 1880's - a situation which did not improve till the second half of the 1890s. Although the total stock still shows growth initially, it is necessary to consider how that tapered off, what was old orders arriving, and what happened in terms of new purchases and replacement of the stocks. Much of the growth from 1895 on (as seen in the graph at left) is in stationary cranes, presumably equipping the increasing number of stations being built at that time. From the end of the 1880s there is a slow growing collection of pile drivers and hoisting engines indicating an increasing mechanisation. From the early 1900s the records show an increasing use of overhead travelling cranes - perhaps reflecting the development of the workshop facilities.

Graph of Looking at the data for the stock of travelling cranes alone (considering only rail cranes and not including travelling overhead cranes) we see a mix of similarities and differences to the pattern for the total crane stock. Growth in stocks is limited up to the end of the 1880s when a sharp increase warrants further investiagtion. The crane numbers drop slightly to the mid-1890s when renewed growth accompanies the end of the economic depression. Renewed growth ends around 1910. The travelling crane stocks are static in the years that follow. General manager Mr E.H. Hiley 1914 proposal for an 8-year rejuvenation of the New Zealand Government Railways.was halted by the outbreak of war toward the end of the period represented. It would be of interest to get a better picture of the crane stocks in the years that follow.

A further area of examination should be the seperation of wharf cranes from the stock of breakdown/maintenance of way cranes. The larger capacity cranes can be identified as wharf cranes, but this is not yet possible with some of the smaller varieties.

Graph of Looking more closely at the travelling crane stocks, it is interesting to compare the hand and steam powered cranes. Steam power was utilised from very early on (the working railways inheriting steam cranes from the earlier Canterbury Provincial Railways and the Port Chalmers Railway). But it would seem that initially the hand powered cranes were more numerous. From the end of the 1880s when the stock received a large (and so far unexplained) increase the respective stocks were similar numerically to around 1904. From this point the number of handcranes appears to be in decline. It would appear the 1900-1904 period requires a closer examination as there is strong growth in powered cranes in the following few years. This ends in the immediate pre-war period and as noted above, it would be of interest to get a better picture of the crane stocks in the years that follow.


Crane Totals by year: The following table is a summary giving the total number of cranes in service by year from 1881 to 1915 grouped under a number of classifications. The unsummarised data is given below . See the section above for some analysis of the data.

Year1881188218831884188518861887188818891890 18911892189318941895189618 97189818991900190119021903 190419051906190719081909191019111912191319141915
Stationary-hand47506774808688959091929496991001001011061121231271281341361441461481571611711711 80187187186
Stationary-pneumatic0000 00000000 00000000 000000000000003
Travelling-overhead00000000000000000000000141619182 729343237424452
Travelling-hand2428272221273639393737363434343434353 43536373940403940384038383837 3737
Travelling-steam129921 201834363435363635353534343435 37374139394142465155575656575757
Pile drivers & Hoisting Engines000000003465666666911111112121417172623242633333233
Total8591106117121 131158170168169173173173176177176177183192208213219226243257 265271302311327328349363364376


Crane Totals by year: The following table is a summary giving the total number of cranes in service by year from 1881 to 1915 listed by type and capacity. See the section above for some analysis of the data.

Capacity (Tons) Description188118821883188 4188518861887188818891890189118921893189418951896189718981899190019011902 190319041905190619071908190919101911191219131914 1915
1/4 tonStationary-hand 1112
1/2 tonStationary-hand2255553 44444488 86211111 1111
1 tonStationary-hand654567611455344555545510131920202025262 22321282723
1 1/2 tonStationary-hand21222529 313029303031333335363637384250525448515157 60565860686674757880
2 tonStationary-hand7889481111109812 131413131414121414161819191920212122212320 2020
3 tonStationary-hand33443444444444444444444333333332334
4 tonStationary-hand111111111111656667623222322283030313236383837
5 tonStationary-hand77211827292829282828 2828282924232324252424788866611108777
7 tonStationary-hand1112222222344444444443
8 tonStationary-hand111111111111111 1
10 tonStationary-hand35477666666665555555677666767698888
15 tonStationary-hand112222222222212
20 tonStationary-hand111 11111111 11111111 111
2 tonStationary-steam243
1/2 tonStationary-hydraulic11111111
1 1/2 tonStationary-hydraulic 22333
8 tonStationary-hydraulic2222222222222222222222222
10 tonStationary-hydraulic 133
12 tonStationary-hydraulic 1
1 tonStationary-pneumatic 1
1 1/2 tonStationary-pneumatic 1
2 tonStationary-pneumatic 1
1/2 tonTravelling-overhead11122 22337
3/4 tonTravelling-overhead4
1 tonTravelling-overhead141618172526302830313128
1 1/2 tonTravelling-overhead11221344
2 tonTravelling-overhead3446
3 tonTravelling-overhead1121
5 tonTravelling-overhead2
1 tonTravelling-hand2222222
1 1/2 tonTravelling-hand111
2 tonTravelling-hand991188913121615151413131313131313 14141414151515161515131313131313
3 tonTravelling-hand1411112 22222222 22222222 222222
5 tonTravelling-hand13131412 121418191818181818181818181818181919191919 18181818181818181818
6 tonTravelling-hand11111111111111111111111
7 tonTravelling-hand2111111111
8 tonTravelling-hand 1111
10 tonTravelling-hand13111111113333324443222
3/4 tonTravelling-steam 222222
1 tonTravelling-steam11211
1 1/2 tonTravelling-steam366666655544444442444222333334
2 tonTravelling-steam64413971212121212121313131313131 3131313131111111010107777 76
3 tonTravelling-steam13347812131314141414141414141414 14141413131313131313141415151516
5 tonTravelling-steam1111111111111111121123587766777
7 tonTravelling-steam11122 57777121317171716161615
7 1/2 tonTravelling-steam 1111111
12 tonTravelling-steam22222222222222222222222222222222222
15 tonTravelling-steam 11111111111
20 tonTravelling-steam1111111 12233333 3
Pile drivers & Hoisting Engines3465666666911111112121417172623242633333233