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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/131

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The Problem of the Conductors.

value, not so remote as to be of only theoretical interest. No system is perfect. Under any conditions the very size of a railway necessitates a trifling allowance for peculation which creeps in. This can, however, be reduced to a negligible quantity.

So completely has the old system broken down on most railways—there are a few exceptions—that it has become a farce. It is a sad commentary on organization that many roads are giving the passenger conductor up as a bad job and putting on expensive train auditors who usually are really not auditors, but collectors. They are called auditors probably because they are under the auditor. It is a principle of organization that the staff as such should never command the line. The staff reviews, inspects, audits, studies, advises, suggests and, perhaps, promulgates, but should never execute, except as a representative of the line, the latter being responsible for the results of operation whatever the operation may happen to be. The accounting department is a staff department. When it was given charge of a line function, fare collection, a principle was violated. Ultimate failure of the system was therefore certain and inevitable. The train