The question of a uniform for the station-masters on the New Zealand Railway lines is one that has been raised before to-day, and has been discussed previously in these columns. On Good Friday our attention was called to the absence of such a uniform by several persons, and we should say, from what we saw, that the want was felt. The station-master is the head and front and director of all the work at a station, and the movements of all the officials, and the trains under their control are directed by him. From his orders on the platform the travelling public know how to act, and knowing the giver of an order the non-travelling crowd are able to distinguish between whose command is entitled to respect, and whose is not. On Good Friday there were immense crowds of Volunteers and civilians on the little platform at Ashburton, and the work of the railway officials was arduous in the extreme. Both civilians and Volunteers were continually in their way, and the attention that ought to be given to the station-master’s orders was not given by the Volunteers and others who were on their journey to Christchurch. Not that disrespect was intended, but because no one not familiar with the form and features of Mr. Pilkington was able to distinguish between him and any unit of the non-official crowd. It was observable that an announcement made by a guard in uniform, or by the badge distinguished porter was accepted as authoritative at once, and attended to. But the same order coming from the lips of the station-master—the fountain head of it—only met with in most cases a stupid Bt«vre, followed occasionally by an
inquiry as to who that person was who was making himself so awfully officious. Had the station-master worn any sort of a distinguishing mark that would at once have announced his position and authority, we have no doubt that prompt obedience would immediately have followed his “ all aboard,” and many grinning idlers would have cleared the way when he gave utterance to his desire that they should do so. Every Ashburton resident knows our station-master, but strangers cannot be expected to do so, and we consider it is an absolute necessity that the authorities should set about providing some badge by which the chief officer at railway stations should be known.
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