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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/194

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Letters From A Railway Official.

more or less justifiable profanity in which he then indulges.

Up in this part of the country, where they do some mighty good railroading, is a big hearted general officer, who once, during a blizzard, directed his superintendents to order train and engine crews to disregard block signals forced out of commission by the elements. A section foreman went out to change a rail with the traditional one man who could not flag both ways. So the section foreman, with the rail out, relied upon the [automatic] block signal for protection. Along came the train with orders to disregard the signal—and the engine landed in the ditch. There was some official talk of discharging the section foreman. The big general officer faced the music and said, in effect, that if any enforced vacancies were to occur he himself must be the man. “Furthermore,” he added, “we have learned something; if we are ever again tempted to disregard block signals, we will first notify everybody on the railroad, including the section foremen.” Such manliness is the rule rather than the exception among railroad officers. It is a practical kind of honesty which counts in the great art of handling men.