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roads. These three classes are, the primary network of railways of general interest, the secondary network of railways of general interest, and railways of local interest. The particular class which a railway shall belong depends upon the place which is assigned to it by the authorities of the state in the “declaration of public utility.” Belgium recognizes three classes, — railways of
general interest, parochial, and urban railways. In Holland three classes also exist, — primary, secondary, and regional. The Austrian and Hungarian classifications are essentially like that of Prussia, including main and local roads. The Italian law of 1879 distinguishes between four classes, based upon the proportion of the total cost of the railways borne respectively by the federal government and by subordinate political unities. Secondary Italian railways are divided into five classes, depending upon the width of tracks, speed, curves, grades, etc.
The convenience of classifications of this kind is apparent; and, furthermore, such classifications are in themselves a recognition of varying degrees of importance attached to different kinds of railways. Under the laws of the different states in the Union, a short and insignificant road in an isolated corner of the state is governed by the same laws through which an attempt is made to control and regulate the most extensive system embracing thousands of miles of double, triple, and quadruple tracks. Along this line foreign legislation may teach us a valuable lesson in that it points out the imperative necessity of recognizing in the law decisive differences in the social and economic importance of different railway systems.
Dogmatic adherence to the doctrine of free and unrestrained competition among railways is not a chief characteristic of foreign railway history. In England, Germany, France, and Austria, the limitations of competition were recognized in the deliberations accompanying the granting of the first charters. The construction of "competitive” lines within certain periods of time was usually prohibited. Railways were recognized as undertakings which possess characteristics differing widely from ordinary industrial enterprises. A British Parliamentary committee of 1872 reported that
competition between railways exists only to a limited extent, and cannot be maintained by legislation,” and that "combination between railway companies is increasing, and is likely to increase, whether by amalgamation or otherwise." In France there were thirty-three railway companies in 1846; in 1855, there were twenty-four; in 1857, eleven; and in 1859, excepting eight subordinate lines, only six companies were left. These six constitute the great French railway companies of to-day, among whom the territory of France is parcelled out, each company enjoying exclusive privileges within its respective domains. For years Austrian railways have exercised the privilege of making traffic arrangements analogous to American "pools,” and in the countries of Germany railway federation is in progress to-day. Germany repudiated the doctrine of free competition before the era of nationalization had begun. Japan has adopted a unique compromise measure for the granting of charters by dividing the franchise to a company into three parts. The first part is a preliminary charter which authorizes persons to make surveys and to submit to the government estimates and propositions for construction. During this stage no subscriptions to stock can be received, nor can any work of construction be begun. Different parties may compete for the second part of the franchise or construction charter. The first charter is temporary ; the second is permanent. The construction charter authorizes the company, now a legal body, to build the railway within the limits of the general railway law. When the company desires to open a part or the whole of the road for traffic, a communication must be addressed to the head of the national or central railway department, now the department of communication. The department of communication, having received such notice of the intention of the company to open its new line to traffic, shall order an inspection of the road, with respect of gauge, bridges, rolling stock, buildings, etc., in accordance with the provisions of the "estimation.” If the inspection is satisfactory, then a business charter or “grant to begin business” is given to the company. This charter finally authorizes the corporation to do business.
One of the leading considerations in the granting of charters for the construction of new lines under the Prussian law of 1838 is the economic necessity of the projected road and its probable influence on existing railways. This has been one of the fundamental principles in Prussian administration that no new railway shall be built where it is not needed, or where it may do serious injury to an existing or previously chartered railway. Japan is pursuing a similar course by rejecting applications for charters, when the necessity for the construction of the new railway cannot be fully demonstrated, or when it prejudices the just interests of existing lines. In these respects American laws are lamentably weak. Our fallacious theories of unrestricted competition have led to the construction of duplicate lines for purposes of blackmail, and the destruction of valuable properties through the recklessness with which charters have been granted.
In the Code of Per Diem Rules 1 adopted by the American Railway Association, the first page is devoted to definitions. Terms like "home car," “private car,”. “ home," "home route,” are carefully defined. We look in vain for a similar set of definitions of terms used in railway laws in the United States.2 Neither the interstate commerce law nor the laws of the states contain adequate
1 J. W. Midgley, Code of Per Diem Rules, 1902.
2 The laws of Massachusetts contain quite a number of definitions, and the terms employed in the statistics of the Interstate Commerce Commission are carefully defined in the official report blanks.
definitions of terms like "railway,” “through traffic,” and “ proportional rates.” It may be a difficult matter to formulate accurate definitions of technical terms employed in matters relating to railway traffic, yet for the sake of clearness and uniformity definitions should be incorporated in our laws. At present such definitions are found only incidentally in decisions of courts and of commissions. In the laws of England and of British colonies, on the other hand, the custom of defining the terms employed in the laws appears to be well established. The Canadian law, for instance, defines such terms as
ms as "company," "court," " department,” “goods," "highway,” "lines,” “map or plans,” “near,” “owner," "railway,” “toll,” “tariff,” “the undertaking,” and “working expenditure.”
“ Compared with the United States, European countries were rather slow in expanding their railway systems during earlier epochs. This difference in the rapidity with which railways were projected and constructed on the two continents may plained, partly, first, by the more highly developed systems of macadam roads and canals which sufficed fairly well to meet the needs of commerce; and, second, by the more buoyant and speculative temper which prevailed in the United States, together with the absence of good roads and canals and the necessity of finding means for transporting her rapidily growing surplus to market. Germany, for instance, had a well-organized stage-coach system operating on her fine highways. Her canals