Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/395

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RAILWAY MALADJUSTMENTS.

couragement to persons who construct railroads without regard to public wants for speculation merely, and then so manipulate them as to compel old companies to purchase and operate the new lines in order to save losses on the old, which can not be done without additional cost to the people.

If we would restore harmonious relations between the railroads, we must repeal the laws which are more favorable to those who build than to those who operate them; and by such repeal the construction of railroads for purposes of blackmail and speculation will be made impossible, and the occupation of dishonest construction companies will be gone.

Is it not evident that to prevent ruinous competition and adverse legislation of which the railroads complain, and to avoid the discrimination, pools, and combines of which the public complain, we must close the throttle-valve and apply the brakes, and, by repealing, arrest the operation of those laws which have led to undue and premature railway construction; and, as population increases, existing railway systems will be more fully employed, and new systems will be extended only on their merits? Under such conditions disturbances will become less and less marked, pulsations less and less severe, and a stable equilibrium will be speedily restored.

 

An analysis of the testimony presented to the United States Senate Committee on Interstate Commerce, which entered upon its investigation after the above article was in type, fully confirms the position assumed. Mr. Fink stated to the committee that there were too many roads, and that, if the Grand Trunk and a half-dozen other lines did not exist, the public would be as well served as now. It was generally acknowledged that the law was not fully observed, and Mr. Depew did not hesitate to state that it never would be unless pools were legalized.

With few exceptions the railroad managers asked for the abrogation or modification of the anti-pooling and long and short haul clauses, which led Mr. Herrick, of the New York Produce Exchange, to remark, that "it seemed as if the railroads wanted to abrogate just what the public demanded should be enforced." Mr. Depew admitted that the law has prevented the building of useless roads, and that the condition of the railroads had improved, but not so much as would have been the case had they been permitted to pool. He said, "The law has proved beneficent to the public at the expense of the railroads"; but with legalized pools the converse might be stated, for they would improve the position of the railroads at the expense of the public.

Mr. John D. Kenna, ex-railroad commissioner and attorney for the Produce Exchange, insisted that the Interstate Commerce