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RAILROAD COMMISSIONERS' REPORT.
STATE OF IOWA,
OFFICE OF BOARD OF RAILROAD COMMISSIONERS,
TO HON. HORACE BOIES, Governor of Iowa:
In compliance with the law we respectfully submit the thirteenth annual report of this department, covering the full returns made to this Board by the several railroad companies doing business within the State of Iowa, from the 30th day of June, A. D. 1889, to the the 30th day of June, A. D. 1890, together with tabulated information compiled therefrom. This report also includes the investigations made by the Board in cases of complaints filed and the decisions rendered thereon, from the first day of January, A. D. 1890, to the first day of January, A. D. 1891, reports of serious accidents investigated, separate reports of which have been from time to time heretofore submitted to you; a statement of the litigation instituted during the past year by this Board and against the Board, and the present status of the cases still pending in the courts; a digest of the decisions of the Supreme Court of the State rendered since our last report upon questions affecting the relations of the citizens of the State to the common carriers thereof; also a digest of the cases decided during the same period by the Inter-state Commerce Commission, and other matters of general public interest.
As an appendix to this report we have added the Iowa statutes relating to railways and notes of the decision of the Supreme Court thereunder, for the careful and thorough compliation of which the Board and the citizens of the State as well are under great obligations to Hon. Emlin McClain, Chancellor of the Law Department of the State University.
In November, 1889, Mr. Spencer Smith was re-elected as Commissioner for the full term of three years, from the 12th of January, A. D. 1890, and on that day the Board was organized by the selection of Mr. Smith as Chairman and W. W. Ainsworth as Secretary.
GENERAL CONFERENCE OF RAILROAD COMMISSIONERS.
This Board was represented at the annual meeting of the State Railroad Commissioners, held in the city of Washington on May 28th and 29th, A. D. 1890, by Commissioner Smith. Among the important matters considered was the necessity for a uniformity in railroad accounts from which statistics are compiled and uniformity in freight clasisfication. In ten States the 30th of
June closes the fiscal year, the 30th of September in six, the 31st of December in five, while 295 railroad companies close the year December 31st, 137 September 30th, 99 June 30th. For purposes of comparison statistics made from such widely varying periods are not as valuable as when made from the same periods and the necessity for a closer uniformity was quite marked. In this conference there were twenty-one States and one territory participating.
The Board deems it unnecessary at this time to make any recommenda tions regarding changes in the existing laws of the State for the regulation and control of railways, as there will probably be no session of the legislature until after the next annual report is made. In the report for the year 1889 this subject was considered at some length and bills covering many of the recommendations then made passed the lower house without opposition, but failed to be reached for consideration in the senate. In the next annual report to be made by this Board the recommendations previously made will be renewed with such additional ones as may be found necessary to meet new conditions.
From personal inspection made and from information filed with the Board the announcement is made that the year just closed has found a marked improvement in the physical condition of most of the roads. Many miles of track have been ballasted with broken stone, gravel, cinders and burnt ballast, much surfacing has been done, new ties put in place of those giving out, old and light rails replaced with new steel of heavier weight, wooden bridges, pile structures, and wooden culverts, replaced with more substantial work of stone and iron, trestles filled and exposed and dangerous places put in order. Considerable double track has been laid on the through lines and preparations made for more, terminal and yard facilities greatly increased, and a general improvement of the equipment.
JOINT FREIGHT RATES.
In the report for 1889, the Board said: "The authority of the Commissioners to put in joint rates on freight passing over two or more lines has been affirmed by the shippers and denied by the carriers. The Commissioners held in the complairt instituted by the Davenport shippers that the law does not give them the authority but expressed the opinion that it should properly do so."
Following this suggestion the Twenty-third General Assembly enacted a law designed to confer upon the Board this authority. The act reads as follows:
AN ACT to amend Chapter 28 of the Acts of the Twenty-second General Assembly, giving authority for the making of rates for the transportation of freight and cars over two or more lines of railroad within this State, and enlarging the powers and further defining the duties of the Board of Railroad Commissioners.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Iowa:
SECTION 1. That chapter 28 of the acts of the Twenty-second General Assembly be and the same is hereby amended as follows: That said chapter 28 of the Acts of the
Twenty-second General Assembly shall not be construed to prohibit the making of rates by two or more railroad companies for the transportation of properties over two or more of their respective lines of railroad within this State, and a less charge by each of said railroad companies for its portion of such shipment than it charges for a shipment for the same distance wholly over its own line within the State, shall not be considered a violation of said chapter 28 of the acts of the Twenty-second General Assembly, and shall not render such railroad company liable to any of the penalties of said act. But the provisions of this section shall not be construed to permit railway companies establishing joint rates, to make by such joint rates any unjust discrimination between the different shipping points or stations upon their respective lines between which joint rates are established, and any such unjust discrimination shall be punished in the manner and by the same penalties provided in chapter 28 of the acts of the Twenty-second General Assembly.
SEC. 2. All railway companies doing business in this State shall, upon the demand of any person or persons interested, establish reasonable joint through rates for the transportation of freight between points on their respective lines within this State, and shall receive and transport freight and cars over such route or routes as the shipper shall direct. Carload lots shall be transferred without unloading from the cars in which such shipments were first made, unless such unloading in other cars shall be done without charge therefor to the shipper or receiver of such carload lots, and such transfer shall be made without unreasonable delay, and less than carload lots shall be transferred into the connecting railway's cars at cost, which shall be included in and made a part of the joint rate adopted by such railway companies or established as provided by this act,
When shipments of freight to be transported between different points within this State, are required to be carried by two or more railway companies operating connecting lines, such railway companies shall transport the same at reasonable through rates and shall at all times give the same facilities and accommodations to local or state traffic as they give to inter-state traffic over their lines of road.
SEC. 3. In the event that said railway companies fail to establish through joint rates or fail to establish and charge reasonable rates for such through shipments, it shall be the duty of the Board of Railroad Commissioners, and they are hereby directed, upon the application of any person or persons interested, to establish joint rates for the shipment of freight and cars over two or more connecting lines of railroad in this State, and in the making of such rates and in changing or revising the same, they shall be governed as near as may be, by all the provisions of chapter 28 of the acts of the Twenty-second General Assembly, and shall take into consideration the average of rates charged by said railway companies for shipments within this State, for like distances over their respective lines, and rates charged by the railway companies operating such connecting lines for joint inter-state shipments for like distances. The rates established by the Board of Railroad Commissioners shall go into effect within ten days after the same are promulgated by said board, and from and after that time the schedule of such rates shall be prima facia evidence in all of the courts of this State that the joint transportation of freight and cars upon the railroads for which such schedules have been fixed.
SEC. 4. Before the promulgation of such rates as provided in section 3 of this act, the Board of Railroad Commissioners shall notify the railroad companies interested in the schedule of joint rates fixed by them; and they shall give said railroad companies a reasonable time thereafter to agree upon a division of the charges provided for in such schedule, and, in the event of the failure of said railroad companies to agree upon a division and to notify the Board of such agreement, the Board of Railroad Commissioners shall, after a hearing of the companies interested, decide the same, taking into consideration the value of terminal facilities and all the circumstances of the haul, and the division so determined by the board shall, in all controversies or suits between the railroad companies interested, be prima facia evidence of a just and reasonable division of such charges.
SEC. 5. Every unjust and unreasonable charge for the transportation of freight and cars over two or more railroads in this State, is hereby prohibited and declared to be unlawful, and each and every one of the companies making such unreasonable and unlawful charges, or otherwise violating the provisions of this act, shall be punished as provided in chapter 28 of the acts of the Twenty-second General Assembly for the making of unreasonable charges for the transportation of freight and cars over a single line of railroad by a single railroad company,
SEC. 6. This act being deemed of immediate importance shall take effect and be in force from and after its publication in the lowa State Register and the Des Moines Leader, newspapers published in the city of Des Moines, Iowa.
At the instance of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railway Company, a temporary writ of injunction was issued ex parte against the Board by Hon. S. H. Fairall, Judge of the Eighth Iowa District, restraining the Board from taking any action under such act. It will be noticed that there is an ambiguity of expression in the latter part of section three of this act. To this uncertainty of meaning to the clause requiring contract relations between the carriers and to the failure to provide compensation for services performed in making transfers from one line to another, and the failure to provide for the necessary details to carry out the requirements of the act, objections were raised by the company, and on the final hearing upon a motion to dissolve, the court declined to sustain the motion and an appeal was taken to the Supreme Court of the State. On October 8, 1890, the Board promulgated a schedule of rates for a continuous haul over two or more lines of railway by which the maximum rate of freight to be charged by any railroad company receiving business from a shipper at a station on its line within the State of Iowa, destined to a point within the State of Iowa on another line of railroad, or receiving freight originating within the State of Iowa on the line of another railroad and destined to a point within the State of Iowa on its line, was fixed at eighty per cent of the schedule of reasonable maximum rates of charges for the transportation of freight and cars in Iowa previously fixed by the Board. Several of the lines put these rates into effect, and suits were commenced by the Attorney-General to compel the lines not using them to put them in. These suits are still pending in the State courts.
HEATING AND LIGHTING PASSENGER CARS.
The heating, lighting and proper ventilation of passenger coaches is receiving considerable attention in this State. The deadly car stove and oil lamp are slowly giving way to methods more in keeping with the rapid progress being made in mechanical science. The warming of cars by steam is proving by trial to be both practical and economical, and lighting by electricity generated on the train, and by gas stored, is being tested on some of the lines. Several of the New England States have statutes prohibiting the use of the common stove in cars, and public sentiment everywhere is properly demanding its extermination.
A circular letter was addressed by this Board to all of the roads of the State requesting special information upon this subject. The lines did not all reply, but from the replies received it is found that the Minneapolis & St. Louis Company has 5 cars heated by ordinary stoves, 2 by Mason heaters, 6 by steam heat, all lighted by ordinary lamps.
The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Company has 444 cars warmed by ordinary stoves; Baker heaters, 43; National Car Heaters, 4; all lighted by ordinary lamps.
St. Louis, Keokuk & Northwestern Company has 11 cars heated by ordinary stoves and 4 cars by other methods.
Kansas City, St. Joseph & Council Bluffs Company: Ordinary stoves, 21; Baker heaters, 3; Baker hot-water safety heaters, 3; all lighted by lamps.