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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/98

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Letters From A Railway Official.

becomes an asset of value to the stockholders. We have not enough officials to ride every train and cover every point. The more open, intelligent supervision we can get from each official the better should be the operation. Of course, if the officials were not experienced railway men a condition of nagging and raw-hiding might result which would prove fatal. What the unit system does is to try to make potential the latent knowledge and ability which every official possesses in a greater or less degree. The old over-specialized system denies that this stored-up reserve exists to any practicable extent.

The fact that the title of assistant superintendent is uniform tends to bring out the real individuality of the different assistants. Each has to have his name on the door of his private office. As we hear less and less of “my department” and more and more of “this division” the references to “the trainmaster,” “the master mechanic,” etc., etc., give way to “Mr. A.,” “Mr. B.,” etc. The assistant superintendents have definite seniority, and when two or more come together under circumstances rendering it necessary, as at a wreck, the senior present takes charge and becomes responsible.