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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/84

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Letters From A Railway Official.

do it all at once. Even if you have a workable scheme it will take a long time to establish. The Brown system of discipline required nearly twenty years for its complete extension to practically all American railroads, although in successful operation for nearly a hundred years at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The demerit system is better handled at West Point than is the Brown system on railways. This is because most of the officers are relatively better trained than railroad officials, having all been through the mill themselves. Better training cultivates the judicial quality. Too often the number of Brownies does not depend upon a fixed scale for a like offense, but rather upon how mad the superintendent is or on how hard he has been pounded by the typewriter in the offices above.

Before you condemn any system be certain that its apparent shortcomings are not the fault of your own interpretation and administration. We used to speak of engine failures alone. Nowadays we distinguish as between engine failures and man failures. Likewise there is a difference between a system failure and a man failure.

Affectionately, your own,

D. A. D.

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