two systems having so few items of resemblance as the California company and the Eastern lines. Yet, if such comparisons are made, with the aim only of discovering the truth, and both systems are placed upon terms as nearly equal as circumstances will admit, there will appear as a result no contrast between the lines where there is the most complete competition and those which are popularly supposed to be controlled only by their own will.
The rates charged by the Pacific coast roads are, on the average, considerably higher than those of the great trunk-lines on the older and more thickly populated side of the continent. This statement presents a natural condition, for the circumstances are necessarily so different in regard to the volume of traffic that almost as great a difference is necessary in rates. The necessity of the difference compels the acknowledgment of its justice. It is obvious that, where a stated traffic will pay the expenses of operating the road and a fair rate of interest on the property, half of the amount of traffic must pay nearly twice the rates in order to produce the same result. Yet, if the popular belief is echoed by the press of California, the rates charged by the Central Pacific system are considered unreasonably high, because they are higher than the charges of the Eastern trunk-lines. The inequality and injustice of this basis of comparison are demonstrated by its application.
The lowest average rate in the United States has been reached upon those lines running between New York and Philadelphia and the West. The charges by these lines average less than one cent upon each ton of freight hauled one mile. Poor's "Manual" for 1881 (pp. 41-47) gives tables of the rates and cost of service of the New York Central, the Erie, the Pennsylvania, and the Pittsburg, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railroads, from which I have made the following comparative statement:
Comparative Statement of Freight Earnings, Expenses, and Traffic for the Year 1880.
|New York Central, 1,018 miles.||Erie, 1,010 miles.||Pennsylvania, 1,120 miles.||Pittsburg. Fort Wayne, and Chicago, 463 miles.||Central Pacific, 2,467 miles.|
|Freight earn'gs, gross||$22,199,966||$14,391,115||$20,234,046||$7,359,452||$13,252,730|
|Freight earnings, net.||$8,529,082||$5,202,818||$9,341,678||$3,290,355||$7,276,282|
|Freight earnings, per mile of road, net||8,378||5,151||8,340||7,122||2,949|
|Tons freight carried||10,533,038||8,715,892||15,364,788||3,865,675||2,149,879|
|Tons carried 1 mile||2,525,139,145||1,751,112,095||2,298,317,323||806,257,399||565,063,768|
|Tons carried over each mile of road.||2,480,490||1,704,070||2,052,070||1,722,722||229,050|
|Average rate, cents||100||100||100||100||2100|
- "Central Pacific Railroad Annual Report," 1881, p. 14.
- Report of the Central Pacific Railroad to the State Board of Railroad Commissioners, California, 1880 (unpublished).
- 3 Poor's "Manual," 1881, p. 800.