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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/178

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Letters From A Railway Official.

ductor, a man who knew how trains were practically handled, was taken off the road and brought to the superintendent’s office to dispatch trains. Stop off at Port Jervis, N. Y., some time and in a local hotel see the portraits of some of these old Erie dispatcher-conductors, their dignity being protected by the tall beaver hats of the period. The dispatcher not being a telegrapher, he wrote out his orders and handed them to a young operator to send. This operator was a bright fellow, who, by and by, graduated into a dispatcher, able to send his own orders and often to do the work previously requiring both men. Too often it has happened that the experience of the new dispatcher, a telegrapher specialist, was limited to the office end, with no first-hand experience in train service. The telephone, fulfilling the immutable laws of evolution, will take us back to first principles. The dispatchers of the future will graduate from the train, engine and yard service, through the dispatcher’s office to higher official positions. The man who gives the order will be a man who has once carried out such an order himself. The man below will obey the more cheer-