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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 7 (November 1, 1929)

Staff Training Schools

Staff Training Schools.

The education of the staff of the London Underground Railways has reached a high standard of efficiency. There are approximately 5,000 men track alongside one of the running rails and the other on the engine tender. The excitement of the track magnet is altered by change of position of the home signal. As the train moves along, one magnet passes over the other at a distance of 5 ½ inches, and the magnets exert an inductive influence on each other, this bringing about an emergency brake application. Some 750 miles of track are fitted with this apparatus. The latest type of automatic train control to be adopted is the optical arrangement invented by Dr. Baseler, of Munich. This system, which rests upon the employment of selenium cells and mirrors, has previously been referred to at some length in these columns. Dr. Baseler is one of the many inventive geniuses the German railways have produced. The employed on the system, and the selection and training of the personnel is the responsibility of a special department. Every applicant for employment is required to pass a medical examination showing him to have a clean bill of health. References are taken up by personal interview as well as by correspondence, and the minimum height of employees is fixed at 5 ft. 7in., as men of shorter stature are placed at a disadvantage in dealing with crowds. Every employee spends his first week in the training school. Here he studies the geography of the system, the interchange points, and the connecting facilities between train, bus and tramcar. During his early years of service the employee is encouraged to attend classes held at the school, and thus extend his knowledge of the working of page 21 the undertaking. Promotion from one grade to another involves an examination and the issue of certificates of proficiency. Full pay is given employees for the time spent in the training school, a guard, for example being allowed twelve days in the school with full pay in order to qualify for the position of driver.

A cadet school is another feature of the London Underground Railways staff training scheme. Cadets are selected from men within the service who have displayed unusual aptitude, and from outsiders possessing special qualifications. Selected candidates undergo a six months’ probationary period, which provides for theoretical teaching as well as experience in the actual working of the different departments. The progress of each cadet is carefully watched, and as time goes on suitable men are placed in the more responsible positions within the service.