Open main menu

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

This page has been validated.

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

119