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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/218

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Letters From A Railway Official

ad stage makes for altruism and comprehensive coöperation. The problem of the construction engineer becomes harder when his work is interwoven with the necessities of everyday operation. A manufacturing plant can sometimes shut down during a period of new construction. A railway, however, cannot store its product, transportation. Some car wheels must be moving all the time. It follows, then, that construction must yield to operation rather than operation to construction. Again, from the nature of a railway, construction is a component of operation, and the whole is greater than any of its parts.

During the period of rapid expansion the construction men were kept “on the front.” Here is another bet that our predecessors overlooked. Instead of amalgamating construction with operation and developing a corps of all around men they sacrificed the future. The result is two sets of specialists lacking sympathy with each other’s difficulties. The point of convergence is the company’s treasury, which pays unnecessary bills. Sometimes these are in the form of a duplication of work train service; sometimes in idle equipment in which the construction bureau retains a proprietary