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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 3 (July 1, 1927)

Divisional Control

page 44

Divisional Control.

How many of our members have thought-how many have spoken the thought-“What is the use of bringing in a system of operation by Divisional Control when such an arrangement increases the overhead charges and does nothing much in the way of giving greater efficiency?”

For the following reason, to hold to such a view would, in my opinion, be but the outcome of short-sightedness. No matter what the business, liasion between its respective branches is imperative if good results are to be obtained. The more complete this harmony of co-operation, the more efficiently will the operation of the business as a whole be conducted. Thus have we followed this principle, and, by the change from Departmental to Divisional Control, have led off in a direction which is logically promoting the development of the better conjunctive working of the respective branches directly interested in Transportation.

This departure having been taken, it is now up to us all to foster the spirit of the scheme and break down that “Watertight compartment” attitude which previously existed, to a greater or less extent, under Departmental working.

Now in reference to the additional overhead charges that have to be borne under the new system: the fact that the Divisional Controlling Officer has the work of all branches under his direct observation and control enables him readily and correctly to estimate at first hand where economies in operation can be effected to the system as a whole. He will naturally, therefore, direct expenditure along those lines where he can see that the resultant benefit will be one that is well worth acquiring. The economy he is able to effect in this direction will do much more than offset the additional charges incurred in the formation of his office.

He would, for example, never think of adding to the number of his locomotives-and thus increase the capital upon which interest would be payable-until he had made absolutely certain that the object to be gained could not be achieved by a lesser expenditure-that, say, of giving greater flexibility to his available power by the strengthening of track, structures, etc. I do not wish to infer that co-operation between the branches was totally lacking under the old system, but I do think that it was not a particularly strong feature. There was, in fact, a tendency for railwaymen not to be railwaymen but Traffic, Maintenance, or Locomotive men, each liable to advocate development expenditure in his own branch without due regard to the (perhaps) wiser claim of another branch.

The Divisional Control system is logically sound and has been adopted with success in the majority of railways abroad. Why should it not give successful results in New Zealand?

Dunedin Goods Yard, Looking North.

Dunedin Goods Yard, Looking North.