Page:Science and Citizenship.djvu/22

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Science and Citizenship


A visitor to any of the goods stations of the railways running into London from the north, will see any day of the year, but more particularly in the autumn, vast numbers of coal-laden trucks awaiting delivery. It may be said of at least two of the northern railway systems, that they exist for the purpose of carrying coal to London. The traveller who is carried, in about two hours, from St. Pancras to Nottingham in a luxurious restaurant car may imagine that the Midland Railway is designed and administered for his benefit and comfort. But that is an illusion of the unreflecting citizen. The truth is, that the luxurious restaurant car is itself a bye-product of the coal traffic. In the eyes of the representative railway engineer the cities of England are, primarily just the terminal yards of the collieries; and the citizens themselves, according to his ethical scheme, rank in status and civic worth in proportion to the capacity of their respective factory furnaces. With literal and historical accuracy, the typical railway engineer sees the modern locomotive as just an elaborated pit pump-engine placed on wheels, and engaged all day in hauling coal-laden trollies from the pit mouth to the cities, and all night in hauling them back empty. To the railway engineer, science is a means of transmuting the energy of coal into cities and citizens. It follows that his policy of city development—or, as one should rather say, urban expansion—leans to the erection and multiplication of lofty