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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/229

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Fallacy of the Train-Mile Unit.

this is offset by the claims save for missing the market with delayed stock. Is it not a sad commentary to think that legislation is necessary to make us do what is for our own best interests?

There can be no doubt that for a heavy and regular movement of low grade commodities on two or four track roads the big train is logical and economical. Most of the prairie roads are single track. Most of the distances between the prairie cities are relatively long. Stock, perishable freight and merchandise must have rapid movement. Is it wise under such a disparity of conditions to make the train-mile rigid and sacred? Why not pay men by the hour, with a monthly guarantee, and run trains sometimes light and sometimes heavy, sometimes fast and sometimes slow, to meet actual controlling conditions of traffic? When business happened to be light, equipment plentiful, and terminals open we would penalize ourselves in wages for slower movement, but would save in fuel, in engine house expense, etc. Just where the economical limit would be, just how it would all work out, I do not pretend to say. I do say, however, that the old methods can be improved when we start