Absent-Minded Chairman

A poem criticising the Chairman of the South Eastern Railway for the poor quality of the service

“THE SOUTH-EASTERN RAILWAY, STRONG CRITICISM.”

The Caterham, Free Press has lately been devoting its attention to the South-Eastern Company, and we quote the following from its issue of the 6th inst. :—

If a railway has been responsible for the growth of a district, and led hundreds of families to take up their residence along its four or five miles of line, it seems to us to be the duty of the directors of that company to see that its customers shall experience a minimum of discomfort and inconvenience. It is further our opinion that the branch line is a remunerative one. And the directors may be anxious to improve matters. How is this possible, though, when the directors are, with a sole exception, interested in other big concerns, many of them in several? We are not speaking at random. Before us we have a list of the directors of the company and the other companies in which they are interested. It is our intention week by week to publish a selection of the names until we have exhausted the lengthy list. Here lies the root of the evil : the directors have too much to do to give the South-Eastern Railway the proper attention it should ! receive. Our first example is

THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMPANY,  [Note 568.1]
who, in addition to being the chief director, is also a director of
The Bank of England,
Northern Assurance Company,
London Trust Company Limited,
Chipstead Valley Railway Company, is chairman of Watney, Combe, Reid and Company Limited,
Epsom Downs Extension Railway Company, is also
Treasurer of Guy's Hospital, and
M.P. for the Wimbledon Division.
The capital of Watney, Combo, Reid and Company is SI.5,000,000, and one would think the management of a concern of that magnitude would be sufficient for one man's energies. Mr. Bonsor, able man though he be, has too much to do. If he would but devote, not even the whole, but two-thirds of his time to the SE., he would earn the lasting gratitude of hundreds of thousands. The company may possibly be endeavouring to remedy the state of things over their system, but while they are doing so the prosperity of the district—and consequently of the branch line—is-being menaced because of the apparent utter inability of the company's officials to cope with the demands made upon them. The following has been sent us for publication, and its merit will at once be recognised :-

 

“THE ABSENT-MINDED CHAIRMAN." [Note 568.2]

When you're travelling by our railway, when your feet are cold as ice,
When you've been for four long hours along the line, -
Will you write for explanation to the S. E. R. and say
That it ought to cater food for us and wine ?
The men are getting frantic as each day the trains get worse;
The man has gone away who ought to mind 'em,
For he's sick to death of travelling by his own disgraceful line,
But he's left a lot of awful trains behind him.
Four train; six train ; trains at all hours of the day—
Whether the line is blocked or clear, you never need have any fear ;
Your train is bound to be late, nothing can alter the fact ;
So be as bright as ever you can,
and Wait, Wait, Wait,