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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 5 (September 24, 1926)

Responsibilities Of Railway Work

Responsibilities Of Railway Work.

At the recent sixty-fifth anniversary dinner of the United Kingdom Railway Officers' and Servants' Association, Sir Charles Cheers Wakefield, the President, referred in the course of a speech to the responsibilities from which railway men are never freed in carrying out their daily duties. “There are few people” said Sir Charles, “who have more lives depending upon them day by day, than the driver of a long distance express train. To the child, the engine driver is the hero, and certainly his duties are onerous enough. But there are many others in a modern railway service who share his grave responsibilities and I think it unfortunate that so few people realise the vital importance of the duties that fall upon many not highly-paid railway officers and servants.” He went on to say that upon the railways the price of safety was eternal vigilance. Not many of those who chafed at a two-minute signal stop outside some busy junction appreciated the fact that a moment's relaxation of their watchfulness and care, on the part of any one of a dozen or more railway officials would mean certain danger and possible death to hundreds of passengers. The extraordinarily high average of safety that obtained upon British railways had always been very justly a matter of pride in the railway world. The motto “Safety First” had a modern flavour, but upon the railways for generations there had been this watchword—“The Safety of the Public First!”