A Study of the Subject from the Point of View of the Executive Office
By C.H. Allison
National Magazine, April, 1905

Employes, in accepting employment, assume its risks.
- Southern Pacific Company1903 book of rules.

This article is a beaut! (click on the image to download a PDF) A hundred years ago, the carnage on America's railroads was frightful. The third quarter of 1904 was a particularly bad time - 276 passengers plus an incredible 756 employees died on the nation's railroads. This does not count thousands of "tresspassers", as the railroads called them. You would guess that rail executives of the time might address the subject with a fair measure of contrition at least in public, but not if you were C.H. Allison, Secretary to the President of the Illinois Central Railroad, by golly!

To summarize Mr. Allison, It ain't our fault. What are we to do? It's those damn unionists, passengers, saboteurs and fricking tornadoes causing all of this. Hell, we poured good money after bad when we installed block signals and automatic couplers, and they did bubkiss. So don't bankrupt us by demanding more so-called safety appliances. So, how did Allison propose to change the situation? Eliminate unions, and by inference, make passengers more responsible for their own actions.

So, you are probably wondering why century-old claptrap has my goat. I was one of those evil unionists, a local BLE officer, and I was constantly reminded that this ancient line of baloney is alive and well in modern times. As to Allison's legacy to the Illinois Central, I once calculated that the IC lost 16% of its E-unit fleet due to wrecks.

click on the image to download a
10 page, 2.3 MB PDF of the article

It is in interference with discipline that the blight of unionism is chiefly manifest. - C.H. Allison, 1905