Open main menu

Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/172

This page has been validated.

Letters From A Railway Official.

every diverging freight district to include the next terminal.

It should always be remembered that a large terminal demands preferred consideration, because owing to restricted area its problems are intensive and expensive. A dispatcher has a hundred miles or more over which to keep his trains apart, while a yardmaster finds his engines bunched within a mile or two. Again, if the cost of terminal switching does occasionally happen to be reflected in a freight rate, the genial gentlemen of the traffic department are prone to recommend its absorption. I believe as a broad proposition that the management of railroads is more scientific than that of most modern industries. I would not like, however, to file much of their terminal operation as an exhibit. A majority of the switch engines in the United States have one superfluous man in the crew. This is partly because so few operating officials have sufficient practical knowledge of switching to go out and intelligently handle a crew all day. If you don’t believe this, make some time and motion studies of switching. Compare the relative performance of your yard conductors. The tasks of road conductors are relatively so well

160