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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/9

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Foreword.

One of the greatest problems of modern railway management is that of organization. Little railways have been combined into big ones; and big railways have been consolidated into big systems. To so organize these extensive systems that each division and each railway shall have enough individuality and autonomy to deal effectively and satisfactorily with the conditions and needs local to it, and at the same time bring about the correlation and unification of all parts of the entire system essential to the most efficient operation—this is one phase of the problem. To develop men able to administer skilfully departments having many and varied branches—this is another phase. It was as a means to solving this great problem that Major Hine worked out the unit system of organization now in effect on most parts of the Harriman system. In the letters composing this book he has described, not with the cold, hard outlines of a blue print, but vividly, and with fullness of practical illustration, the nature, purposes and workings of the unit system. Whether the reader agrees with the author’s views or not, he cannot but be interested in them as the views regarding a scheme of organization which is the subject of widespread interest and discussion of the man who originated and worked out that scheme of organization.

Besides organization the letters deal with many other questions of practical interest both large and small—with the relations of the railway with the public; its regulation by public bodies; the labor situation on the railways, etc. Indeed, they touch on almost every phase of contempo-

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