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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 6 (October 1, 1930)

Interesting Railway Occupation — (From our London Correspondent.)

page 56

Interesting Railway Occupation

(From our London Correspondent.)

A tremendously wide field is covered by the railway industry, and it really would be hard to name the most interesting task in the service. This, by the way, was the topic under discussion the other day in one of the big Home railway messrooms when the writer looked in during the lunch hour; and your correspondent could not help thinking what a fine subject for a little essay competition it would form: “What I consider the most interesting job in the railway service, and why.” For myself, I have always envied the signal engineer of his task, and in this connection one of Britain's leading signal experts, Mr. F. Raynar Wilson, has just told something of the joys and responsibilities of the signal engineer's job.

Speaking before the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers, Mr. Wilson suggested a four years’ practical course of training for the prospective signal engineer. This would be divided between shop, field and office experience. In the shop training, there would be three months in the machine shop, two months in the turning shop, one month in the foundry, eight months in the fitting shop, and four months in the test room, a total of eighteen months. The field work recommended included two months with the heavy gang, two months with the mechanical fitters, four months with the wiremen, two months with the testing electricians, and two months on maintenance operations, making a total of twelve months. Eighteen months would be occupied in the office. For three months the pupil would be engaged on general tracing. Three months on interlocking charts would follow, and then six months on circuit design. For three months he would be concerned with signalling schemes and their development, and for three months on estimates. This, undoubtedly would form a very fine practical course of training for the would-be signal engineer already blessed with a good general education, some knowledge of electricity and mathematics, and—above all—a genuine desire to make good.

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