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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/97

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The Unit System.

warded. In this exceptional case a letter of transmittal is written setting forth the views of the superintendent. A cat may look at a king. A meritorious idea should not be throttled because it does not happen to appeal to the next superior.

When a division official on any road rides a train, he does not first thing try to tell the conductor what meeting points should be made. He usually says, “Let me see your orders,” which is in effect asking the conductor what the dispatcher has said must be done. Protected by this vital information the official may then venture some suggestions. In the preliminary lecture explaining the unwritten laws of the unit system the new assistant superintendents are cautioned to apply the same principle. They are not to see how much trouble they can make, but how little. If the transportation assistant, for example, pulls up to a water tank at 7:20 a. m. and sees the section men just going to work, he does not jump on the foreman for being late, but quietly asks, “What are your working hours? What time does the roadmaster tell you to begin work?” The moral effect of the presence of an alert, observing official, armed with sufficient authority,