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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/92

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Letters From A Railway Official

instructions of men shown by name on the time card, and are not at the mercy of clerks. The old trainmaster’s name is more respected because it is signed only by himself and is not cheapened by use by Tom, Dick and Harry. (Anvil chorus: “Such things couldn’t happen on our road.” Perhaps not, but they do just the same, in a greater or less degree.)

When a conductor reports for train orders he has a right to know that a competent dispatcher is on duty. He cannot dictate, however, what particular dispatcher shall work the trick and give him his orders. The unit system carries this same principle to correspondence and reports. It denies the right of the employe to dictate what official shall handle a certain letter or report, under normal conditions. The report is addressed impersonally “Assistant Superintendent,” and the office decides what official is most available. As a matter of common sense the expert in that line will be utilized. In his absence, however, his feudal representative, a clerk, will not act for him. The clerk may prepare the papers, but final action can be taken only by an official. Highly technical problems are sent to the absent official on the road or await his return.