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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/222

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Letters From A Railway Official.

back. Two years hence the maintenance assistant will not give you the old song and dance about poor construction causing excessive maintenance, because he himself built the line. There is, of course, a danger that this maintenance assistant will be extravagant in construction for the sake of a future record in maintenance. You have two checks against this, one through the efficiency of your construction assistant and the other through the division accounting bureau, which should handle additions and betterments as separate accounts.

Once upon a time I ran across a contractor grading a new line. His organization, the most efficient that I ever happened to see in any line of activity, made that of the railway for which he was working look like thirty cents. He made the grading camp the unit. Each of his sixteen camps was in charge of a foreman who controlled his own commissary, his own timekeeper, his own blacksmith and his own animals and equipment. The first duty of the foreman was to supply his men with grub and his animals with feed. Normally this took two wagons. If he happened to be near the base of supplies he used only one team and put the