Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/431

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THE MEXICAN RAILWAY MOVEMENT.

Pacific and the Central Pacific, having heavy mountain grades, long stretches of high table-lands and sea-coast connections. An examination of the official reports show that, in 1880, the gross earnings per mile of these three roads were respectively as follows: Union Pacific, $11,304; Central Pacific, $7,818; Vera Cruz, $12,662. The net earnings per mile were as follows: Union Pacific, $6,168; Central Pacific, $3,913; Vera Cruz, $7,330. The reports for 1881 show the gross earnings per mile to be as follows: Union Pacific, $12,516; Central Pacific, $8,758; Vera Cruz, $16,489;—and the net earnings for the same year: Union Pacific, $6,207; Central Pacific, $3,593; Vera Cruz, $10,098. It will thus be seen that, for the last year, the Vera Cruz road made a net earning of six per cent upon a capital of $168,000 per mile. A very liberal estimate would not place the cost of construction to-day at more than $50,000 per mile, upon which the present net earning would be a return of about twenty per cent. If we accept the Vera Cruz road as an evidence of what may be expected in the working of the railroads now being constructed by American companies, the foregoing exhibit is certainly not calculated to discourage American investers in those enterprises."

Apologists for the road do not fail to call attention to the fact, that the above figures represent the income of a line, including its short branch, less than three hundred miles in length. But it should be remembered that they are the earnings of a road having a monopoly of all traffic between the largest city of Mexico and its only eastern port, and with three fourths of this amount derived from the transportation of material for the construction of other roads.

Passing through the richest portion of the republic in agricultural wealth,—through every climatic zone, in its toilsome march up from the coast to the high plateaux,—it should have developed the resources of the country vastly more than it has done, for everything it is possible to raise in Mexico can be produced along its line. It is safe to say, that for at least five years the Mexican Railroad will pay enormous dividends, and for ten years will do a profitable business, after which the competing