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EARNINGS AND EXPENSES.

The gross receipts of the steam railroads reporting to this office for 1885 were as follows:

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The gross expenses of the corporations re

porting to this office for 1885 were as follows:

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The gross receipts of the same roads in 1886 were:

From passenger department
From freight department.
Rents for use of roads
From other sources .

$8,640,119 63 9,291,533 56 1,676,162 15

673,475 85

Total

$20,281,291 19

The gross expenses, including taxes and rents, were $15,778,383.57; and the gross net income $4,502,907.62. This is an increase of $2,292,151.09 in receipts, and of $739,733.56 in net income. The gain in receipts is 12.75 per cent and in net income nearly 20 per cent over the preceding year.

In this connection it is interesting to note that the increase in the earnings of the 76 roads taken by “ Brad

as representatives of the railroad business of the

street"

whole country was but 6.2 per cent, and of the different sectional groups into which these roads are classified as follows: Granger roads 2.7 per cent; Central Western roads 10.4 per cent; Eastern roads 12 per cent; Southern roads 3.1 per cent; Southwestern roads 11.4 per cent; far Western roads 8.8 per cent.

DIVIDENDS.

Twenty-six of the thirty-four steam railway corporations making returns to this Board paid $2,206,903.47 in dividends to stockholders, - the rate ranging from 2 to 10 per cent, an average of 5.9 per cent. In addition to this, the Atlantic & St. Lawrence stockholders received 6 per cent from the rental paid by the Grand Trunk.

RAILROAD MILEAGE.

There has been no increase in the steam railroad mileage of this State since 1882, when it reached in even miles 1,042, one set of returns making it 1,042.82 and another 1,041.32. The main lines are 968 miles and a fraction and the branches - 73 miles in length.

There are 66.03 miles of doubled track, the same as last year. The sidings measure 202.94 miles, an increase of 5.70 over last year. Computed as single track, there are 1,310.29 miles.

ACCIDENTS.

Twenty-eight persons were killed upon the railroads in this State during the year ending September 30, 1886, and forty-one others were injured, some of them seriously. The only accident in which more than one person was killed was the head collision at Andover Center, October 18, 1885, in which three trainmen lost their lives and five others were injured. No passenger has been killed in a car in this State for several years.

Since October 1 this Board has investigated twelve accidents, resulting in the death of as many persons, making the number forty during the last eighteen months. The following classifications refer to this period. Of the forty killed, fourteen were railroad employés. Four of these fell and one jumped from moving trains, three were victims in collisions, one was coupling cars, one fell from a bridge, one was killed by a derailment, and three were walking on the track. Of the twenty-six not in railroad employ, one committed suicide, three were driving over crossings, four jumped from moving trains, two attempted to board trains in motion, one fell from a train, one was crawling under a train, and twelve were trespassers upon the track. Thus, it appears that forty-five per cent of all the casualties to persons not in railroad service were caused by the use of the track as a highway. This is a larger proportion than in other years or in other States, but this cause of fatalities is everywhere one of the principal ones.

There seems to be some infatuation which leads citizens of the United States to exercise an assumed but highly prized right to jeopardize their lives, whenever they have occasion to journey on foot between two points connected by a railroad and a highway, by always walking upon the track; and there are many sections of railroads over which hundreds of pedestrians pass every day. While this continues, - and there is no way to prevent it in the present state of public opinion, accidents will occur in spite of the greatest vigilance and care on the part of trainmen.

TIES, RAILS, WATER, AND FUEL.

The question of supplying railroads with ties is fast becoming a serious one. Nearly 3,500,000 ties are in use in this State, and as their average life is not over seven

years, their renewal requires about 500,000 per year, and of these a large proportion are brought from other States and the British possessions; for the chestnut forests, from which come the standard tie, have nearly disappeared, and the supply of hemlock and oak is fast being exhausted. To such an extent has this lack of ties already made itself felt that the substitution of iron or steel for wooden track supports is one of the pressing problems in railroading, and several patterns of steel and iron are being tested with a promise of proving satisfactory.

On nearly all our roads there is a lack of water at stations for engines and drinking and sanitary purposes. No station at which there is much business can be said to be well furnished without an unfailing supply of drinking water, and no one can be kept entirely wholesome without water-closet arrangements, by which bowls and vaults can be frequently flushed or otherwise washed out.

Steel rails such as formerly cost $150 a ton can now be had for $40, and old iron rails sell for $32, so that the difference in cost between a new steel track and an old iron one is but $8 per ton and the expense of relaying. Under these conditions iron rails are rapidly going out of use, and steel is taking their places, greatly to the advantage of all parties. The tendency is also towards much heavier steel rails than were formerly deemed sufficient, and those weighing 56 and 65 pounds to the yard are being steadily transferred from the main lines to branches to make room for 72 and 80 pound patterns.

Even when they run through sections where wood is worth little upon the stump, railroads are rapidly substituting coal for wood as fuel for locomotives. All the locomotives on the Boston & Maine, Cheshire, and Connecticut River systems burn coal. On the Concord there are but 14 wood-burners out of 44; on the White Mountain division of the Boston & Lowell but 16 out of 36; and on the Northern division of that system but 9 out of 27.

GRADE-CROSSINGS.

There are 675 grade-crossings in the State. Every one of these is a public enemy, and should be got rid of as soon as possible, whenever it can done at a reasonable cost. Several States have attempted to rescue coming generations from the dangers incident to grade-crossings by inaugurating a long series of eliminations, the cost of which is apportioned between the railroads and the towns through which they run, and this may be successful in thickly settled and rich commonwealths, where the evil is proportionately much greater and the cost of its abatement much less than here, but in New Hampshire we can scarcely expect to do this, and outside of our cities and large villages grade-crossings are in the nature of necessary evils. It is estimated that it would cost to raise the railroads above or sink them below all the highways and farm paths which they now cross at grade, a sum equal to their total capital stock. This is too much to ask the roads or the public to pay, even though it be distributed through a series of years so long that the work will be finished only when the descendant of the prolific foreigner has taken the place of the last thoroughbred and barren Yankee, who has been run down and killed; and however much there is to support the theory that it would have been better to have prohibited crossings at grade when the roads were chartered, and that no new ones should be permitted, we may as well accept the fact that most of those we have are here to stay. Forty gradecrossings are now protected by gates or flagmen, an increase of seven over last year. This is the best plan that now offers to lessen the danger in the larger towns, and these gates must be multiplied as fast as is practicable. We may hope, too, that inventive genius will soon produce an automatic or electric gate that will effectually close a roadway upon the approach of every train, and be

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