The great trouble now, and the great trouble for years past, that has bothered English railway managers, is the insolvable problem how to enable a passenger to communicate with the " guard," or conductor, and the guard to communicate with the " driver," or engineer. Probably more time in inventions and tests, at which Col. this and Capt. that, and Hon. Mr. Blank, M. P., and Sir Toodles, K. C. B., assisted, has been spent in the repeated attempts to solve this terrible problem —to cross this modern ports asinorum—than has been expended by all our improvers of steam engines, agricultural machines, and velocipedes; and these may be counted by the hundreds. Still the railway murders, and ravishments, and assaults, and insults go on, and the passengers are still locked in their cushioned and upholstered cells, subject to the exploit-ering pleasure of any well-dressed and purse-competent villain. Some of the ingenious arrangements for establishing communication between the victims of Miillers and Booths and the guard (what a misnomer!) are sufficiently ridiculous to excite a laugh, was not the subject one too mortally serious. The passenger, in peril of his life, or throttled by garotters, has only, in one case, to smash a pane of glass and turn a handle, previously defended by that glass screen, when he will show a signal that may be seen by the driver or guard if either happen to be looking back over the train. As it is the constant custom for the driver (engineer) to be always looking back over the top of the cars, and the guard (conductor) in his van is continually doing the same thing, it is evident that the after telegraphic communication between the two could be established within less than an hour, and, better still, the railway officials would be able to ascertain in what compartment the audacious breaking of the protective glass was done, and possibly fix the act on the impertinent and presumptuous victim of English fashionable railway assault. Semaphore signals worked by similar means, electric signals and alarms, ringing a bell or waving a flag, and flexible air tubes extending the length of a train, and operated by the compression of air, and other similarly ingenious (?) contrivances have been tested, but as hitherto without success. Not entirely so, however; for recently at a trial of the atmospheric " kudingus " a Col. somebody, stationed on the " foot-plate " of the locomotive far the purpose, really recognized the signal and informed the engineer. It was highly successful. Seriously, this nonsense is pitiable—shameful. But, there may be some reason after all for it. One of our exchanges gives a probable solution of what might be otherwise incomprehensible to our minds. The Hartford Post says : The manners of our English cousins don't seem to be as refined as they might be, indeed many of them would fare hard if tried on a charge of rudeness_ and boorishness. The English railway companies steadily resist all efforts for the adoption of the American mode ot communication, by a cord, between the different portions of passenger trains and the locomotive, on the ground that the trains would be liable to constant stoppage by young gentlemen " on a lark " or by other mischievous people. It is said to be useless to tell the railway officials that in America trains are never stopped in this manner, and that there is no good reason for supposing the British traveling public worse than the Americans. They know their countrymen too well. It does really seem as though there is something exceptionally rude, to say the least, in the average Briton and there seems to be a natural proclivity to wanton mischief even among1 the educated classes. Two illustrations of this are recently reported : Two persons described as " gentlemen," lately amused themselves on the way from London to Dover, with tearing up the cushions and carpetingsof the railway carriage; and another, likewise dignified with the title of " gentleman," was fined five shillings at Dewsbury for singing " If I had a donkey," in a church, while a funeral service was going on. Both of which instances are cheerful evidences of refinement ind gentlemanliness. We know better than that even in this dom blarsted country." Another instance' of rudeness not mentioned by the above rater lately occurred in Dresden. An elderly English gen-leman persisted in pounding with his cane on the floor of the hapel, whenever the chaplain undertook to pray for the Presi-Icnt of the United States. He was very devout and docile rhen Queen Victoria and other members of the royal family pere mentioned, but became violent the moment an attempt ras made to remember our Chief Magistrate. A Frenchman rould have recognized the propriety of such a prayer, but an Englishman " could not see it.”
This article was originally published with the title "Connection on English Railway Trains"