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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/230

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Letters From A Railway Official.

from proper basic conceptions. I do not believe that we yet understand the relation between increased cost of maintenance of equipment and decreased wages for train crews.

Perhaps because I had the honor of braking on a way freight I have never outgrown the idea of the practical trainman that a local freight is a traveling switch engine and a peddler of L. C. L. merchandise. Whatever may be the showing as to percentage of tractive power utilized I am unable to see the wisdom of a way freight dragging in and out of passing tracks all day with a lot of through cars. The claim is often made that a few big trains can be easily handled by the dispatcher, because the number of meeting points is decreased. My own opinion is that this seeming advantage is often more than offset by the unwieldiness of the big train. Fear of censure for delaying some important train makes the conductor “leery” about starting and the dispatcher timid about directing a prompt movement. When we begin wrong, how not-to-do-it methods always follow. The chief dispatcher will let freight be delayed in a yard for a full train with power needed at