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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/88

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Letters From A Railway Official.

circular of appointment might imply that all the responsibilities not enumerated would be necessarily excluded. So the assistant superintendent quietly speaks to the young flagman, who profits by the instruction, and the incident is closed without recourse to the typewriter. For the technical brief to the Supreme Court there is substituted the rough and ready but surer justice of the police magistrate. The employe still has the right to appeal just as he had before, but seldom or never does he exercise it. There are, of course, intelligent limitations to all authority. The mechanical assistant, or the maintenance assistant should not, for example, order the flagman to buy a new uniform. Common sense and courtesy have proved effectual safeguards against abuse of authority.

The underlying principle that responsibility breeds conservatism in action has operated to prevent those unseemly clashes of authority which many predicted. The good sense of the superintendents has served as an effectual balance wheel to maintain smooth running. The unit system does not deny or dispute the necessity for specialized talent for technical activities. It insists, however, that increased super-