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What's Wrong with the Railroads?
based upon facts. International politics, man who does not recognize his obliga- likely to outgrow some of the crudities like domestic politics, rests upon differ- tions to his own country cannot be a that have characterized its infancy. It ences in policies, which in turn de- good internationalist.
has done good service in providing an pend upon conflicting national interests. According to plans announced at the
open forum for a broad discussion of The expert in international affairs is to close of the session, the Williamstown international questions. There is no reabe respected in proportion to his accu- Institute of Politics is to be put upon a son why at the same time it should not racy in understanding and reporting permanent financial basis. It is therefore
be in spirit and purpose American. those conflicting policies; but his opinion as to their respective merits is not necessarily valuable. He is as likely as any one else to be swayed by consideration of
By LAWRENCE F. ABBOTT the interests of the nation for whose poli
Contributing Editor of The Outlook cies he is consciously or unconsciously an AM not sure whether this article nostrums, some of them are proposed by advocate.
will ever be read by more than two experienced experts who have sincerely at In the second place, the managers of
people—the pleasant lady who is heart the welfare of both society at large such an institute should be on their taking it at my dictation and myself who and the railroad builder and investor guard against the assumption that na
am writing it, largely to relieve my feel- individually. The sum total is that tionalism is necessarily an evil and inter- ings. For it is about the vexatious rail- all concerned are anxious and pernationalism always a virtue. There are, road problem, and the managing editor plexed. in fact, three kinds of internationalism. of The Outlook, while generously giving It is no wonder that railroad owners and One is that which would do away with me a free hand in my weekly contribu- operators, harassed by burdensome and all national boundaries and erase all tions, has laid down only one rule for my
tions, has laid down only one rule for my often unjust taxation, by multiplicity of national distinctions and blend the whole guidance. He has asked me to avoid all conflicting laws, by the rising costs of world in one universal economic or po- controversial political and
controversial political and economic materials and labor, and by the animosity litical organization. Those who favor questions on the very reasonable ground of shippers, farm blocs, and legislators this are so few and so theoretical that
that The Outlook is constantly dealing (who are often as selfish as the old-time they may be practically disregarded with such matters in all sorts of articles, railway king), are in a state of confuThen there is the internationalism which and that its readers are entitled to some sion. recognizes the necessity of international relief from disputatious argument. He I do not propose to add to this condifferences, but so affects the minds of
has delicately intimated that my job, if fusion by suggesting any remedies of my its believers that they regard their own I have any capacity for so doing, is to own. A good and sufficient reason is nation as presumably in the wrong on afford them such relief.
that I am not competent to do so. But every disputed point. Internationalists
Now, there is no more tender or irri- I am convinced that one way in which of this creed applaud race patriotism in tating subject of political economics be
tating subject of political economics be- railway managers can successfully meet every other race but their own, and en- fore the American people to-day than the rising tide of opposition and avert courage national patriotism in every railroad transportation. The railroads what I agree with them in regarding as other nation but their own. They plume are the arteries of the Nation. If they the dangerous social and economic falthemselves on their “international mind,” harden, clog, and cease to function, the lacy of Government ownership and opand believe that their adoption of foreign country will suffer an apoplectic stroke eration, is by developing and extending a points of view is proof of their member- which will result in a paralysis of our so- genuine policy of service. Some railway ship in the exclusive class of the intelli- cial, industrial, and political life that will managers, especially of the younger gentsia. It was noted by Rear-Admiral make the panics of 1873, 1893, and 1907 school, are living up to this conception. Huse that at the Williamstown Institute look like minor ailments. And yet Alex- Unfortunately, there are still left some attacks on American politics constantly ander D. Noyes, the foremost contem- powerful operators who appear to think elicited laughter and applause from the porary American authority on financial that railroads can be run on the take-itAmerican audience. This form of inter- history, says in his book, "Forty Years or-leave-it principle. I propose in this nationalism is neither intelligent nor of American Finance," that “the panic of article to note some of the little pinwholesome. It is wholly unscientific 1873 left the country's financial and pricks, coming within my own ken and because it is wholly sentimental. There commercial structure almost a ruin," and experience, which irritate the is a third kind of internationalism, which that "the panic of 1907 . . . resembled railways. For I am inclined to believe ought to be cultivated. It is that which ... intimately the panic of 1873.” that much of the public opposition of recognizes the conflicting interests of na- All sorts of remedies are being pro- which railway managers not unjustly tions, enables one to see those conflicting posed for the disease of arteriosclerosis complain is based upon irritation rather interests from different points of view, from which the railroads appear to be than upon reasoned objections. and by the very process of clarifying suffering—higher rates, lower rates, cut- I do not suppose that Mr. “Pat” those conflicting interests makes clear the throat competition, uniform pooling, Crowley, the very efficient president of obligation which each nation owes to its compulsory consolidations by law, volun- the New York Central, who literally own citizens or subjects as well as to the tary consolidations prompted by the knows railroading from the ground up, other nations with which it has to deal. legitimate ambitions of capital, strength- will ever see this article. If he should, As that man cannot be a good citizen ening the power of the Inter-State Com- he might be surprised that I feel a little. who does not recognize his fundamental merce Commission, and limiting its pow- irritated against his railroad, in spite of obligations to his own family, so that ers. Some of these remedies are quack the fact that it is one of the greatest,
soundest, and most successful systems of go faster than this?" "Oh, yes; much road. No reply. He wrote a second the United States. I have lived on his faster." "Why don't you, then?" "Be- letter. No reply. A third time he wrote, railroad, or, rather, on one of its sub- cause I'm under contract to stay with saying that if the bill were not promptly sidiaries-the West Shore Railroad-for the train!"
paid he would bring suit and have the nearly forty years. I say nothing about Another complaint. Last week I matter tested in the courts. He was a its dilapidated New York City terminal, wanted to escort a favored guest to my man of ample means and meant what he with its rain-beaten train platforms, home, a distinguished elderly judge for said.
The bill was paid. But the which no Western city of one-tenth the whom I think nothing is too good. In branch-line train went on ignoring the size would tolerate for a week, because order that he might see for the first time connection indicated in the time-table. the building of a new terminal would the picturesque Bear Mountain Suspen- Finally the lawyer repeated his protest take a large amount of capital, and rail- sion Bridge across the Hudson and the and sent a bill for the automobile that road stockholders deserve consideration incomparable Storm King Highway, I was necessary to complete the journey. as well as passengers. Possibly, too, he took the main line of the New York Cen- Again no reply, again a second letter, may be waiting for the foolish city of tral to Peekskill, where an automobile and, finally, a third letter, threatening a New York to build a bridge across the met us and carried us the rest of the way test in the courts. The second bill was Hudson, so that thousands of daily com- across the bridge and over the highway finally paid. Not long after this second muters and automobilists may not have twenty miles or more to Cornwall. I experience his New York train was five to depend on fog-bound and ice-thwarted wanted my guest to travel in the utmost minutes late, and he asked the conductor ferries.
comfort, so I tried to get seats at the if they would make connections at X But I have a real complaint. The Grand Central Station for the parlor-car junction. “You bet we will!” replied the tracks from Cornwall to New York are But they could give me places only in the conductor with emphasis. “We have orused jointly by the New York Central sleeping-car. These I took because it ders!” and the New York, Ontario, and West- gave my guest a chance to smoke in a This anecdote encourages me to hope ern, tickets being good on all the trains comfortable smoking-room.
that I may accomplish some good by of either line. The other afternoon I got into the smoking-room, some fifteen recording the annoyances related in this took an Ontario and Western express,
minutes before the train started, the article. In one sense they are, of course, hurrying to keep an engagement in New electric lights were so dim that my guest unimportant. They do not affect the York City. When about twenty-five could not read his afternoon newspaper safety of passengers, but they do affect miles from New York, we began to slow in the darkness of the bowels of the mag
their comfort, and comfortable customdown and stop, slow down and stop, thus nificent Grand Central Station. I called ers are much more likely to be friendly dragging along until I finally asked the the porter and asked if he couldn't give to an industry than uncomfortable ones. porter what the trouble was. He replied us more light. “I am sorry, sir,” he Statistics of ton-miles and of the low that a "local," which stopped at every courteously answered, “but the batteries percentage of accidents per thousand of station, was just ahead of us. Of course, are run down.” “Well, what are the passengers carried do not always allay under the very commendable block-signal poor passengers on this sleeping-car go- irritation. Twenty-five years ago I system every time the "local" stopped at ing to do when night comes,” said I. crossed to England and back on the two a station we stopped by the green fields “Bless you,” he answered, “nobody ain't crack steamers of that summer belonging of the roadside. The porter further
The porter further going to sleep on this car. It's going to to a transatlantic line whose slogan, in added, with some irritation, that this be taken off at Albany and the batteries answer to any complaint was, “We never particular idiosyncrasy of train-despatch- 'll be recharged there."
killed a passenger.” On the westward ing was not of infrequent occurrence. Now, here was a sleeping-car made to voyage one evening some meat was served Now, no one has greater admiration than do duty as a parlor-car on a daylight which our olfactory nerves decided was I for train-despatchers. They are skill. journey, and, to make the matter worse, older and more firmly established in the ful and hard-working officials, with a ter- the lights were defective. The judge dignity of maturity than the company rible burden of responsibility resting on
took the annoyance good-naturedly, as itself. The gentleman sitting next to me their shoulders. But I submit that time he always takes discomforts of travel, at the table happened to be a British tables ought to be arranged so that ac- and said it reminded him of an experi- army officer of high rank. He called the commodation trains do not make express ence of his brother, a prominent New chief steward and, putting his monocle
rains, frequently, if not habitually, half York lawyer who, many years ago, had in his eye, dryly remarked, “Steward, I an hour late. At all events, I know that his summer home on a branch line of the wish
you would kill a passenger occasionI was half an hour late in keeping my New Haven Railway under the notorious ally and give us fresh meat"! This bit engagement, and I am afraid the next Mellen régime. His New York train of satire reached the ears of the managetime the Inter-State Commerce Commis- almost invariably missed connections at ment and, doubtless combined with the sion renders a decision adverse to the New the junction, the branch-line train often keen competition of the Germans, caused York Central Railway the natural and pulling out when the main-line train was the company to change its attitude a litunregenerate man within me will chuckle in sight. This necessitated a long and tle. It is just as safely managed as ever a little--as he did when he heard the tedious wait for another train. Finally it was, but to-day it lays emphasis on the story of the little branch line that ran the New Yorker decided to do something. attention which it gives to the comfort into the country from Essex Junction, The next time the connection failed he and happiness of its passengers, in which Vermont. The train was creeping along hired an automobile to complete his jour- feature it may truly be said that no line when a traveling salesman, in a hurry, ney and, with a courteous letter explain- surpasses it. Verbum sat sapienti! as hailed the conductor, saying: "Can't you ing the matter, sent the bill to the rail- Terence once remarked.
A London Literary Letter by C. LEWIS HIND
10 each country its national game: A tall man and an easy man
Hornby and Barlow were famous Lancato England cricket, at Lord's That takes a little run
shire players whom he saw in his youth: and the Oval, where the great
And sends opposing batsmen back matches are played, and on village greens
Ball-beaten one by one. throughout the land.
And keeps his ten good men in heart It is little I repair to the matches of
the southern folk, A lush green field. Upon a shaven As though his softened eye should say Though my own red roses there may patch, “We outs will soon be ins.”
blow; Stolen from daisies and buttercups,
It is little I repair to the matches of A tall man and a mighty man, was played
the southern folk, The Saturday match.
Nor heart nor thews remain,
Though the red roses crest the caps, I But in the mind of thousands more
know. These three lines, the opening of a
He plays the game again.
For the field is full of shades as I near cricket poem of the day, may be taken He plays the game again, my boys,
the shadowy coast, as a hint that this Literary Letter deals
With ten good men and brave
And a ghostly batsman plays to the with cricket in song and history. Above the grass that cannot hold
bowling of a ghost, His spirit in the grave. But first let me refer briefly to two
And I look through my tears on great cricket functions that have helped
soundless-clapping host In the pavilion of the Oval, the Surrey to make this summer month glorious. Country Club ground, there is a monu
As the run-stealers flicker to and fro,
To and fro:One was the two days' match between
ment to the Surrey cricketers and the boys of Eton and Harrow, a society groundsmen who fell in the War. Fol
O my Hornby and my Barlow long
ago. gathering, a dress affair; but, in spite of lowing the names is this, “They Played silk hats, white spats, and the smart the Game.”
“Sportsmen in Paradise” would, of dresses of sisters, sweethearts, and moth
course, be included. It was published in ers, a function in which cricket is
“The Westminster Gazette” during the treated with the highest respect. Looking T:
HINKING of “W. G.”—50 W. G. War, signed “Tipuca:” at the keenness of the young cricketers,
Grace was always known—that
They left the fury of the fight at the wicket and in the field, and the ghost at cricket, one's mind dwells on the
And they were tired. unwritten law, which is the beginning early stalwarts of this great national The gates of Heaven were open quite, and the end of cricket—“Play the game” game—the Hambledon Club, on Broad Unguarded and unwired.
There was no sound of any gun, ---many a veteran must have murmured Halfpenny Down, who about 1780 could the old tag, “The Battle of Waterloo was beat all England at cricket. John Nyren,
The land was still and green; won on the playing fields of Eton.” who "kept the pub” of the Bat and Ball,
Wide hills lay silent in the sun,
Blue valleys slept between.
They saw far off a little wood these young cricketers may be champions ary of National Biography;" his book is
Stand up against the sky. of the future. The annual three days' called "The Young Cricketer's Tutor." Knee-deep in grass a great tree stoodmatch between Gentlemen and Players It was edited by Charles Cowden Clark Some lazy cows went by. is--performance. Here you see the great in 1833. Winchester School has just
There were some rooks sailed overhead,
And once a church bell pealed. Hobbs (he holds the place in cricket that performed the great service of purchasing
“God! but it's England,” some one "Babe" Ruth holds in baseball), and Broad Halfpenny Down, which is
said, when he is batting there is not one of the twenty-five miles from the School.
"And there's a cricket-field!” twenty thousand spectators present but There, last month, a match was played, longs to see him make another century to signalize the event.
And Sir Henry Newbolt's—
But cricket is older than the Hamble(one hundred runs in an innings) and so
There's a breathless hush in the Close equal the number of centuries made by don Club. In 1733 the Prince of Wales,
tonightthe great W. G. Grace during his famous a lover of the game, gave to each mem
Ten to make and the match to wincricketing career. That black-bearded ber of the Surrey and Middlesex County
A bumping pitch and a blinding light, champion still lives in spirit on every
teams one guinea, at a match at Molesey An hour to play and the last man in. cricket ground in England. Here, for
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned this is a Literary Letter, I may interpo- about the amateur-professional distinc
coat, late a poem by Wilfrid Thorley that I tion then? Some day the annual match Or the selfish hope of a season's fame, take from the “Observer” of a week ago. at Lord's between the Gentlemen and But his captain's hand on his shoulder
smote. It is called "A Ghost at Cricket:
Players will be called Amateurs vs. Pro-
“Play up! play up! and play the A tall man with an eye of flint,
game." tions die hard in England. An arm that never fails And cuts the bowler through the slips
And “The Cricket Ball Sings," by Or drives him to the rails.
IS s there, I wonder, enough to make a E. V. Lucas, which he prints in “The He drives him to the rails, my boys, cricket anthology? Francis Thomp- Open Road." In that delightful antholAnd strokes a beard of black,
son's cricket poem will certainly be in- ogy he also includes a passage by John Or pats the turf along the pitch
cluded. He was no cricketer; he fol- Nyren beginning, "There was high feastUntil the ball comes back.
lowed the games in the papers only. It ing on Broad Halfpenny during the so* Since this was written Hobbs not only should be explained that Francis Thomp- lemnity of one of our grand matches. equalled Grace's record on August 17, but on August 18 surpassed it by one century.
son was a North Countryman and that Oh, it was a heart-stirring sight—!”
Official photograph, U. S. Army Air Service
The City Gate-A Stone Monument and a Steel Miracle
operated from one spot-by which the safe and speedy movements of trains are assured
The Miracle at the City Gate
By CHARLES FITZHUGH TALMAN
EYOND the city gate the trains
thread their way through a lab
yrinth of shining steel without accident and without confusion. How is this feat accomplished? Locomotives carry no steering-gear. Their pilots (better known as "cowcatchers") do not pilot. Every swerve from the direct path means a switch purposely set in advance. Each halt is in obedience to a semaphore duly displayed at "stop." Time was when a railroad yard swarmed with switchmen. Machines have replaced every one of them. Nevertheless in some invisible way a human brain must direct the endless interweave of trains arriving and departing, trains making up and unmaking, engines flying hither and yon. How is it done?
By all the rules of logical procedure to which humanity does not conform, the guide-books that devote a whole rhapsodical page to twentieth-century replicas
of Roman baths and basilicas at the city gate should expend at least two upon the supreme miracle of the railroad—the perfectly controlled and co-ordinated system of switches and signals in the station yard. The traveler who notes with satisfaction so many other contributions to his welfare at the modern terminus should be impressed, above all, by the marvelous arrangements for getting his train in or out. In short, the word “interlocking," instead of mostly suggesting directorates to the minds of peregrinatory Americans, should inevitably summon up pictures of a mechanical contrivance as romantic and as necromantic as the telephone-the interlocking machine, and the interlocking switch and signal plant of which it is the nerve-center.
The history of this device is not found in popular chronicles. The story begins in England, but culminates in America.
Laziness is the mother of invention. A
Union Switch and Signal Company
Station, Chicago Such structures are variously known as switch towers, signal towers, interlocking towers, cabins,
or merely "towers"
This interior view of ('abin A at the Pennsylvania Station in New York City shows at the right the train director and some of his assistants, and at the left two of the levermen who, under the director's orders, operate the interlocking machine—the amazingly ingenious device for setting switches and signals at a distance without the possibility of false indications or a conflict of routes. The upper row of levers controls switches and the lower signals. The levers interact in such a way that whenever one of them is moved all others whose movement would cause an inconsistent adjustment of switches or signals are locked in position. On the wall above the machine is an illuminated track model, in
which miniature incandescent lights register the movements of trains through the yard
Crion Switch and Signal Company
A Problem in Permutations If you have a taste for mathematics, figure out the number of possible routes for trains through this labyrinthine yard of the Central Railroad of New Jersey at Jersey City. There are about 200 scheduded train movements in each direction every day, besides many movements connected with the making up of trains and the pulling out of empty coaches after their inbound runs. ('areful planning of rontes is necessary to avoid serious delays. All switches and signals, except in outlying parts of the yard, are controlled electrically from a single tower, but their actual movements are effected by small
compressed-air machines, many of which can be seen in the picture beside the tracks