Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/603

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585
RAILWAY CONSOLIDATION.

in rates is a necessary and natural result of the difference in the length of lines and the amount of traffic.

The differences, which appear in the above figures, between the lines mentioned, in the net earnings per mile of road operated, and in the tons of freight carried over each mile of road, will be more clearly realized with the aid of the following graphic method of comparative lines, which has been so well employed by Mr. Edward Atkinson:

Net Earnings from Freight, per Mile of Road.

N. Y. Cent $8,378 ——————————————————————————
Pennsylvania 8,340 ————————————————————————
P.,F. W. & C. 7,122 —————————————————
Erie 5,154 —————————————
Cent. Pacific 2,949 ————————

Tons of Freight carried over each Mile of Road.

N. Y. Cent 2,480,490 ————————————————————————
Penn 2,052,070 ————————————————————
P.,F. W. & C. 1,722,772 ————————————————
Erie 1,704,070 ——————————————
Cent. Pacific 229,050 ———

It would be easy to continue the comparison further, and show that the rates charged on the Eastern lines—whether fair or not upon them—would be unfair if applied to the Central Pacific; for, applied to the traffic of the latter, they would fall far short of paying the necessary expense of the service, while on the former roads they pay not only the expenses, but afford also a profit. But the foregoing facts, it seems to me, sufficiently show that there can be no satisfactory nor fair comparison between the rates on different roads, unless the amount of traffic and the length of line have in each case some approximation. Perhaps the most equitable test, by any comparison which it is possible to furnish of the charge of high rates made against the Central Pacific Company, is supplied by the railroads of Massachusetts.

Here, from the first railroad built in the United States, in 1826, to the present time, there has been a continuous extension of lines by various companies in all directions, till now, according to Mr. Atkinson, the Commonwealth has more miles of railroad in proportion to its territory than exists in any other State or country in the world. These roads represent sixty-four independent corporations.[1] Here, then, is the greatest contrast to be found between any two systems in regard to consolidation and that competition of parallel roads which is supposed to be the chief regulator of rates. There ought, therefore, according to the popular belief in these matters, to be a contrast equally as great between the rates of the different systems. Here, again, we shall find the popular belief to be in error.

The following table shows the freight earnings, traffic, and rates,

  1. "Massachusetts Report," 1879, p. 2.