Open main menu

Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/233

This page has been validated.

Fallacy of the Train-Mile Unit.

destined to the same point and to the same consignee. When a whole train can be unloaded at the ship’s side at tidewater, or at a large consuming plant, the system is ideal. The trouble begins with the small consignee. Instead of giving him a regular, systematic delivery of the five or ten cars which he can unload each day, our tendency is to bring in twenty-five or fifty cars every five days or so, and then express our horrified astonishment at his failure to release promptly. No, we should not run special trains of five or ten cars for each consignee. What we should do is to watch the matter so carefully that we can feel certain we are considering all the factors of expense as well as that of seeming light tonnage. It may, under given conditions, be cheaper to run light trains than to put on expensive switch engines, to relieve unnecessary congestion in receiving terminals, than to increase overtime and demoralize the road by pulling out drawbars when sawing by at short passing tracks. Sometimes money can be saved by balancing motive power as between steep and level territory.

As a good soldier and a faithful hired hand you must build up for yourself and your supe-

221