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general officers, number of passengers carried and receipts from each passenger, freight tonnage and tonnage of different commodities, and train mileage, together with information in minute detail concerning many other subjects.
The board has not considered it necessary to refer especially to all tabulated information herewith submitted, but in the discharge of its duties presents the same for the consideration of the public.
IMPROVED PHYSICAL CONDITION.
During the year steady improvement has been made in roadbed, it being obvious that with poor roadbed the best superstructure and most modern equipment would be of little use in assuring safety to passengers, or reasonable dispatch in the delivery of freight. Expenditures to the accomplishment of this muchdesired result have been made for such ballast as experience may have determined to be the best for the road in question, or that can be made or obtained within reasonable distance of the locality. By constant attention to this allimportant feature, some of the Iowa lines have road beds unsurpassed by any in the west. Iron rails have substantially disappeared from all main lines and important branches, and with recent material increase in weight of engines of nearly double the hauling capacity of earlier and lighter types, together with corresponding increase of capacity of freight cars, have caused the taking up of much light steel and its replacement with heavy steel.
REDUCTION OF GRADES-INCREASED CAPACITY OF ENGINES.
Grades are being reduced, either by being cut down or by relocation of lines, thus largely increasing the tonnage that can be handled on one trip by one train crew and an engine of given weight. Much attention has also been paid to the increased hauling capacity of engines, and in this particular alone, in connection with reduction of grade and improved roadbed, may be found an important factor in the ability of carriers to still transport freight at a small profit, on rates that can be said to have had a downward tendency for a considerable number of years.
WOODEN BRIDGES. Wooden bridges are rapidly giving place to steel and stone structures, which represents an important element in the expenditure of the earnings and in speed of trains, the safety of the traveling public, and outlay for permanent improvements.
AUTOMATIC COUPLERS AND AIR BRAKES. The old link and pin coupler, to which has been charged many of the accidents and ills which railroad flesh is heir to, is rapidly disappearing, and in its place there is being put in the most approved automatic couplers that invention and mechanical skill have as yet devised, thus obviating to a great extent the necessity of going between cars to couple and uncouple the same. It is believed that the expiration of the time limit fixed by the last general assembly will see the provisions of that law referring to automatic couplers and air brakes in effect, and these life saving safety appliances in general use.
LIGHTING AND HEATING CARS.
Not least in the list of changes that are taking place is the lighting of all through trains by gas, and, in some instances, by electricity, instead of by dim and somewhat dangerous oil lamps. Steam heat from the engines is, in many
instances, supplanting less approved methods, and is another marked change for the better.
Interlocking and derailing devices which render it next to impossible, when properly operated, to run trains together at railway crossings are now in operation at Carnforth at the crossing of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific and Chicago & North-Western railways; at Grand Junction at another crossing of the same roads; at Libertyville, where the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific crosses the Chicago, Ft. Madison & Des Moines; at Fairfield, at the crossing of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific and Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; at Ottumwa, where again the same roads cross; at Belknap, at the crossing of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific and the Wabash; at Neola, at the crossing of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific and Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul; at Seymour, at the crossing of the same roads; at Malvern, at the crossing of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy and Omaha & St. Louis; at Centerville, at the crossing of the Keokuk & Western and Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, and at Davenport, at the crossing of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific and Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern railways; at Melbourne, at crossing of Chicago Great Western and Iowa Central; those at the last four points named having been placed in position during the past year.
These devices, though expensive to first install, are exceedingly simple in practical operation and as effective as they are simple, doing away with the necessity of stopping and starting heavy trains at crossings, thus increasing speed, lessening the interference with traffic, reducing cost of operating trains and reducing the liability to accidents, at such points, to a minimum. The introduction of interlocking and derailing switches which makes possible a quicker service with safety is but one means to this end. Considerable progress is being made, and at heavy outlay of labor and money, to reduce sharp curves and steep grades, the accomplishment of the first rendering travel more safe and increasing life of track and rolling stock, as also making it possible not only for an engine to haul more tons of freight per trip but to perform that service with consumption of less fuel per ton of freight for each mile run, and with minimum wear to car and rail.
It is apparent that the hauling capacity of an engine in actual service must of necessity be measured by its capacity at maximum grades upon the line. The heaviest engine may be able to transport forty or more cars of freight or merchandise over every part of a division except upon a certain grade, but “the hills set the pace for the levels,” hence fewer cars than the maximum must be hauled over ordinary grades or loads suitable for such grades must be doubled over the hills, either by doubling the number or power of the engine or by making two trips with the same engine. Either method adds to cost of transportation and the latter greatly reduces time. In trainmen's parlance, freight is divided into first class, second class and drags. In general terms, first class includes all live and perishable freight, in the delivery of which time is an important factor. The second includes all ordinary freight or that in which time is a less important consideration. Dead freight or drags may bide its time, but humane considerations for live stock, the shrinkage in transit, the variation in markets, and the limited life and freshness of perishable freight under certain conditions make it necessary that this class of freight reach its destination with all possible dispatch. These items, as well as the necessity of reducing the cost of transportation to the lowest reasonable minimum, bring out more prominently the impor
tance of increased capacity of motive power and cars and of reducing grades and curves wherever it can be done with reasonable outlay. Both these considerations are receiving attention by the railway companies in Iowa and more in the same direction will doubtless be done as fast as other pressing demands upon the revenues of these companies will permit.
THROUGH PASSENGER AND FREIGHT SERVICE.
The comfort of the traveling public and prompt delivery of freight are matters of great importance. The establishment of through passenger trains for the transportation of through passengers, mail and express, between large centers of population and market towns, is but one of the expensive luxuries of modern railroading brought about by the necessities of trade, by competition, by demands of the public and by the rapid improvements in all appliances that make up the well equipped train. That such trains are in the interest of the public service is too obvious to require more than a mere statement to that effect.
In freight service no less than in the passenger department, quick delivery is of value to the producer as well as to the retailer, the wholesaler and the
The producer watches the market and places his product thereon at the most favorable time, his product and the market both considered.
It is apparent that every producer, as well as every retailer, wholesaler and consumer in the state, as also every passenger on fast through trains is interested in common with railway companies in the making of the best possible roadbed, the use of the best equipment, as well as the establishment of through quick service in both passenger and freight departments, thus greatly reducing the risk and hazard in the operation of railways, all of which are expensive, but in time will prove profitable.
LAW CONCERNING REPORTING OF ACCIDENTS. Section 14 of chapter 77, laws of the Seventeeath General Assembly, is as follows:
Upon the occurrence of any serious accident upon a railroad, which shall result in personal injury or loss of life, the corporation operating the road upon which the accident occurred shall give immediate notice there of to the commissioners, whose duty it shall be, if they deem it necessary, to investigate the same, and promptly report to the governor the extent of the personal injuries, or loss of life, and whether the same was the result of the mismanagement or neglect of the corporation on whose line the injury or loss of life occurred. Provided, that such report shall not be evidence, or referred to in any case in any court.
This section was not re-enacted by the last general assembly in its revision of the code, but the board has, in all such cases, attempted to ascertain as nearly as may be the responsibility of serious accident, where personal injury or loss of life has occurred, notwithstanding, by implication at least, the board is not required to make such investigations; but in cases where the cause of such accident is occasioned by physical defects of the railway, or by any other act of the railway which might be responsible therefor, and of which the board had knowledge, it has attempted to have such defective conditions remedied.
CONSTRUCTION OF NEW LINES.
The board believes that it can be truly asserted that there is a better feeling existing between the railroads doing business in Iowa and the public than has existed in the past, and that this has, in many ways, encouraged and aided in
the improvement of the railways and the equipment thereof in this state, and that this improvement has been a substantial one. From present indications a large amount of capital is about to be invested in the extension of some of the Iowa lines, and in the construction of new lines, which will undoubtedly prove to be of great advantage to many localities in the state.
INSPECTION OF ROADS AND INVESTIGATION OF COMPLAINTS.
In the discharge of its duties, the board has inspected the following num ad lines, among others, and traveled over all portions, or nearly all, of the samein some instances many times—in making investigations of complaints and cases:
The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, except the Muscatine branch.
A question of vital importance to the public, as well as to the railway companies operating lines within this state, is railway and highway crossings, where one crosses the other at grade.
There is a steady increase in the number of trains operated upon the main or through lines, as well as the speed of such trains, thereby greatly increasing the hazard and danger at crossings, which a few years ago were considered reasonably safe, and such hazard and danger will steadily increase as the speed and number of trains upon the different lines are increased. The only reasonable solution, in the opinion of the board, that will lessen and decrease this danger and hazard, will be to provide for under or over crossings.
This subject is one that should receive careful and considerate action.
The additional expense in many, and perhaps in the majority of cases, where such crossings at grade are hazardous and dangerous, to construct an over or under crossing, would represent, in the aggregate, a very large amount of money, but the tendency, at least, in all cases where such crossings can be constructed at a reasonab.e expense, should be in the line of over or under crossings, and it is the policy of the board, in the absence of express legislation, to encourage the construction of such crossings whenever, in its opinion, it can be done at & reasonable or moderate expense.