Page images
PDF
EPUB

them over the road as frequently as the opportunity presents itself on their inspection trips, discussing with them the various features of the work they come in contact with, encouraging them to ask any questions and offer any suggestions that might occur to them, thereby broadening their views on the general conduct of maintenance work.

It is believed the positions of supervisor of track, supervisor of bridges and buildings, supervisor of signals and inspectors should be filled from the engineering corps on an equal footing with other employees.

(B) Training and Educating Employees (Other than Engineers) in the Maintenance of Way Department, Looking to Greater

Economy and Efficiency as well as Promotion. A great many railroad officers are of the impression that track work can be efficiently performed by the most inexperienced common labor. This is a mistake. The productive efficiency of experienced trackmen is much greater than that of green and inexperienced men, and they should, as far as practicable, be given steady employment and encouragement by promotion when the opportunity presents itself.

It is recognized that railroads, generally speaking, cannot work a uniform force the year around. On many railroads, particularly northern and western roads, climatic conditions are such that the heavy maintenance work must be performed during the summer season, and it would be uneconomical to keep a uniform force during the entire year. However, it is necessary on all railroads to maintain a small force for maintenance work through the winter and the men who are retained in the service should be the older, in point of service and experience, and such new men that are promising and display an interest in the work.

It has been the practice on nearly all railroads to pay all track laborers, regardless of their length of service and experience, a flat rate of pay. The old and conscientious employee is certainly more efficient and, therefore, is entitled to more pay than a new man without training and experience in track work. It therefore seems to your Committee that instead of paying track laborers a flat rate, the rates should be graduated and pay increased in proportion to the length of time in service and his relative efficiency. This has been the subject of discussion from time to time, and it seems that the railroads should be able to work out a system whereby the application of a graduated rate of pay would be practicable and ultimately productive of greater efficiency. By offering track men an increase in pay with increase in knowledge and productivity, as well as length of service, there will exist an inducement for men to fit themselves for the position of foremen. It is the practice in some of the sub-departments of the maintenance of way department, namely the bridge department, signal department and water service department, to have graduated pay for the employees, and we feel that it would be advisable to adopt a similar practice in the track department among the class generally known as common labor. Your Committee would suggest that at least one man be assigned to each gang to be known as "first trackman," his rate of pay to be three or four cents per hour higher than the others. After they have had the necessary training and experience, they should be advanced to assistant foremen or foremen. Should these men fail to show a reasonable aptitude for the work, they should not be retained in such positions, the fundamental idea of such an arrangement being to retain only such men in these positions as will eventually qualify for advancement.

The foreman is required to have had a well rounded practical experience in track work. He should have at least a common school education. He must be energetic and must constantly devise methods to hasten the work and eliminate lost motion. He must be a man with a great deal of patience, but one who is firm and exacts strict obedience, at the same time gaining the good will of his men and treating them as he would like to be treated himself.

Roadmasters, Supervisors and other officers in charge of maintenance, in going over the road, should closely observe the performance of their men. They should take a personal interest in them, and be on the lookout for men in the ranks who display exceptional ability in handling their work. When such men are discovered they should be developed by placing them under experienced foremen, shifting them among different foremen and different classes of work, as opportunity offers. These men should be furnished books of rules and instructions, and invited to attend periodical meetings of the foremen held by the supervisor. Their knowledge of maintenance work should be stimulated and encouraged in every possi

ble way.

Excellent results can be obtained by holding periodical meetings for the foremen to be presided over by Supervisors or corresponding officers. A well planned system of discussion appeals strongly to the man of limited education. Previous to these meetings, the Supervisor should announce one or two subjects to be discussed, in order to allow preparation and assure thoroughness. Conclusions should be drawn for the benefit of the whole organization. It is thought that better results would be obtained by this method than from having a general discussion on many subjects. It is not thought that large meetings should be held to begin with, but that in most cases meetings should be limited that each attendant would have an opportunity for oral discussion. The Superintendent and Roadmaster, or corresponding officers, should attend these meetings, as the interest of the superior officers in, and their personal association with, the men in the ranks is important and far reaching in training the men for higher positions.

It is believed the use of motion pictures for the purpose of illustrating methods of work and ideal results will be found the most valuable of all methods. When it is considered that a rule, an order, or a standard plan on a large system must reach from 500 to 2,500 foremen and 50 to 75 Roadmasters or Supervisors, and in reaching its destination must pass through several hands, it will be appreciated that before it finally gets to the section foreman it will have been explained and presented in several ways by several different men, probably no two of them will give equal value to the essential features, with the result that the impression finally conveyed to the lowest man in the rank may not be the impression intended.

It is felt that proper and accurate transmission of instructions and information is a primary and important problem in any plan of education. It seems that with proper use, the motion picture is adapted to do a great deal to overcome deficiencies from the cause above mentioned. This method of instruction has been in use on some railroads in other departments, and it is thought that a railroad of large mileage could well afford to take a car or two and fit up a motion picture outfit, with selected views and a definite course of instruction. It is thought necessary that a man be selected to accompany the pictures who would be qualified to explain the various kinds of maintenance of way work. Such a man would visit the different headquarters, hold class meetings and illustrate his points with magnified pictures of standard plans of work being done, such as laying rail, applying and tamping ties, as well as other important phases of maintenance of way work, and this would do a tremendous amount of good and be of inestimable aid,

The foremen and other maintenance of way employees should be encouraged to subscribe to literature and periodicals pertaining to maintenance of way and structures. In fact, your Committee feels that a railroad company could well afford to subscribe to such literature and have it furnished to all foremen in the maintenance of way and structures department.

Suggestions should be invited and encouraged from employees, not only pertaining to their own line of work, but for the good of the service as a whole, thereby letting the men know they are an important part of the machinery.

It is believed tangible results would be secured from the development of a pension system to provide for employees who have grown old or become incapacitated in the service. This system would not only greatly help to retain men, but would encourage them to become sufficiently interested in their work to take a personal pride in their road, which in tine would tend to increase loyalty and efficiency.

Employees should be encouraged to take a course in some good correspondence school, preferably some “Railway Educational Bureau.” At such a school they will get the fundamental ideas not only of track work, but of accounting and various other features so important for the development of men to positions of foremen and higher supervisory positions.

CONCLUSIONS FROM DISCUSSION OF SUBJECT (A)

1. Engineers trained in maintenance work, are essential to an efficient organization.

2. The systematic training of young engineers for maintenance work should be carefully undertaken, and if in due course they do not display necessary qualifications to combine practical and technical training with ability to organize, direct and supervise work, they should not be retained in this branch of service.

3. Training of young engineers in maintenance work may best be accomplished by rotation in service.

4. It is essential to the training of young engineers that they familiarize themselves with the rules and practices of the operating and accounting departments.

5. In the interest of an efficient organization it is desirable to maintain a fixed minimum engineering force throughout the year.

6. It is desirable that there be practical cooperation between railway managements and schools and colleges offering technical courses for the better preparation of young engineers entering railway service.

CONCLUSIONS FROM DISCUSSION OF SUBJECT (B)

1. A thorough and systematic method of training employees in maintenance work is essential for efficiency and for promotion to advanced positions.

2. In promotion, merit and fitness should govern. Employees having necessary qualifications should be given every legitimate opportunity and encouragement to obtain necessary training and experience.

3. To accomplish best results, methods should be installed to promote individual effort and interest. Personal contact and personal interest shown on the part of the supervisory forces will go far to bring this about.

4. Employees should be encouraged to seek further education from outside sources on general principles of railway operation, such as through correspondence, night schools and periodicals on railway maintenance.

Recommendations That the conclusions reached by your Committee with referen to Item (2) be adopted and published in the Manual.

(3) REPORT ON STANDARD METHOD FOR PERFORMING MAINTENANCE OF WAY WORK FOR THE PURPOSE OF ESTABLISHING UNITS OF MEASURE OF

WORK PERFORMED.

EARL STIMSON, Chairman;
W. J. BACKES,
C. C. Cook,

L. E. DALE
R. E. KEOUGH,
C. H. STEIN,

Sub-Committee.

The American Railway Engineering Association from its beginning in 1899 until 1917 devoted practically its entire time and effort, through some twenty standing committees, to the study and establishing of plans and specifications for the materials and structures that are used in the construction and maintenance of railroads. As a result we have complete plans and specifications embodying the most advanced state of the art for the various items of materials that make up railroad structures and in many instances for the assembled structures. The use of materials is readily susceptible to control. The economics of materials, therefore, seems amply provided for.

The cost of materials, however, averages not more than one-half the cost of construction and will run as low as 35 per cent of the total cost of maintenance. The remaining percentage of maintenance and construction costs is largely that of labor and it offers a most prolific field for the application of economies. This fact was finally recognized by the Association when it created the Committee on "Economics of Railway Labor."

Maintenance of Way expenditures and consequently the amount of labor employed fluctuates during the year on account of the seasonal character of the greater part of the work, principally the track work, and other fluctuations from year to year rise and fall in unison with the financial conditions.

Any form of budget that may be adopted has for its determining factor this same financial condition. A carefully prepared budget covering a year's work, although approved, is subject to modification from month to month, often causing abrupt and violent readjustment of force.

Although these are natural phenomena, they are none the less disconcerting to the maintenance engineer, and the more so to the supervisor and the foreman who bear the brunt of the effects of this instability.

All this results in lack of uniformity of force, the demoralization of an everchanging personnel and the impossibility of that continuity of program so essential to economy.

Work done under such conditions entails great waste, which added to the waste arising from misdirected effort and useless and ineffective motion due to lack of proper methods and gang organization, amounts

« PreviousContinue »