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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/187

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Supplies and Purchases.

and administration demand normal procedure by subordinates. At normal speed, the administrative machine should run well balanced. When the speed becomes great enough, higher authority should be a governor brought into action more or less automatically. Telling a subordinate habitually to question the acts of his superior has the same cheapening effect as unchecked disregard of block signals. It puts higher authority in the undesirable attitude of exploiting a fad, or an over-worked system, rather than of demanding reasonable compliance with proper and logical requirements.

Have we not overdone the matter of low working stocks? Is is not more expensive for a railroad to carry too small a working stock of material and supplies than one too large? Is not the problem too extensive to warrant very rigid comparisons as between different roads? Like the average miles per car per day, does not the equation contain too many variables to admit of a very exact solution? Can we compare effectively the dissimilar conditions involved in climate, distances from producing and distributing centers, character of predominating traffic, etc.? Are not some records for seemingly low economical stocks

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