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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/232

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Letters From A Railway Official.

are greater than men, and that right wrongs no man.

Railroads have grown so fast that our conceptions of working units have sometimes out-stripped practical possibilities in performance. Too frequently we make the unit too large. There must be a practical limit beyond which the train becomes too long for an economical unit of movement. The fact that we should have elasticity rather than rigidity in the size of our economical train emphasizes the necessity for defining the elastic limit. Practical experience and sound judgment must aid in interpreting and applying not only the laws of matter and physical nature, but the laws of sociology and human nature as well. After the lading for the trip is discharged, the car cannot be sold or abandoned, as was the flat boat which Abraham Lincoln helped to float down the Mississippi river to New Orleans. Have you not seen cars pulled to pieces in big trains, have you not seen freight delayed in a manner to suggest to an innocent bystander that the road was perhaps running its last train and giving its cars their last load?

The inevitable tendency of the big train is to hold back and combine in large lots cars