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finding to our cost that our engines sueh as are built across system, which, for its mileage, the Atlantic. They would not has to support by far the fit. If we wish to enlarge our heaviest traffic of any in the locomotives still further, world, is designed on a scale shall have to squash the boiler which can only be described yet closer to the wheels (if such as diminutive. We are, in a could be), and allow it to word, trying to do serious work swallow up yet more of the with toys.
funnel and steam-dome, otherTo begin with, the sectional wise our only plan will be to area of our tunnels and over- take refuge in additional length, head bridges is quite too cir- to which clearly there must be cumscribed, and, of course, our
a limit. stations are constructed on the If the sectional area of our same scale. Practically the rolling - stock is below
below the whole of the masonry along standard required by modern our lines would ha to be conditions, the case is even renewed if the said area is to worse when we come to conbe brought up to American or sider the third dimension that Continental standards, and ad- is, .
length. Of late years the ditions would have to be made continuous tendency has been to the ballast which supports to increase the
increase the length and the permanent way. Obviously weight of both passenger and the cost of these alterations is goods trains. One long train prohibitive, but consider what has many advantages over two the disability implies. It means
It requires half that our rolling-stock must for the staff of drivers, firemen, all time be narrower and less and guards. As a rule, there lofty than that possible for would be a saving in coal. our competitors in Europe and Also it necessitates exactly half America. It is not as if our the signalling, and it occupies fathers laid the foundations in only one block section of line wood, hay, stubble. They built instead of two, a most imfor futurity, and they intended portant matter in busy disthat their work should last for tricts. In the case of passenger a century or two; nor, alas! is trains, increased length is due it likely that anything short of not only to the increased numan earthquake will disappoint ber of persons travelling, but their shades. Brunel, alone to the accommodation on longamong them, realised the value distance journeys of lavatories, of a broader gauge, and his as well as of dining and sleepworks went the way of much ing saloons. The bicycle, too, other farsightedness. But it often demands an extra coach. is not quite a broader gauge It is, therefore, little to be that want. The traffic wondered at that the platforms requires more elbow-room, for and sidings, built years ago, the enlargement of vehicles on now prove quite too short for the present gauge. It is use- modern working. Let us take less to cry out for mammoth a really bad case. The amal
gamated Chatham and South- each destination.
Waggons Eastern Railways are so en- arriving have to wait their cumbered with short platforms turn to be unloaded, so clogging that many of their trains have up other traffic. Overtime has regularly to draw up twice at to be worked in order to clear each station, so as to enable off arrears, and this leads to passengers in the extreme front discontent and lack of reguand extreme rear to alight. larity among the men, whose The unpunctuality which re- hours are quite long enough sults is heart-breaking, and it already. Instead of method has a definite and appreciable there is one continual battle effect the revenue.
The with confusion. surest test of the prosperity of We do not see that we can a suburban railway is its season- fairly blame the management ticket account. Residents re- for the inadequacy of siding fuse to settle in districts where accommodation. But in goods the train - service is expensive working there do appear to be or dilatory. During the last faults, which might be, and ten years the total receipts therefore should be, remedied. from season-tickets, in the case There is really no excuse for of fifteen leading railways, have the long-continued famine in averaged an increase of 47 waggons.
say that this Yet the South- scarcity is driving traders Eastern and Chatham increase desperate is to put the case for the same period amounts mildly. We know of an instance only to 26 per cent, a fact for where
granite works which short platforms must closed down for several days bear not a little of the blame. simply because a line, tributary When we turn our attention to the North-Western, refused to the goods traffic, we find to supply the rolling - stock that the case is infinitely more necessary to the removal of the serious. The congestion is be- finished stone. Scarcity of coming chronic. It is always waggons leads not only to loss worst in big towns, where ex- of traffic, but also, curiously tension of yards is attended enough, to congestion. by fearful capital expenditure. waggons are available for a It is not too much to say that consignment which requires the companies are at their three. The two have to wait, wits' end, nor do they appear blocking up a siding, until a to have any idea how to face third makes its appearance. a situation which grows more In other ways, too, there is pressing every. day. Lack of waste. Where waggons are space in a goods yard involves continually being wired for, delay at every point in the they have often to be run progress of a consignment. It light — always an operation is difficult to sort the goods which results in loss.
It is, before loading There is not therefore, no wonder that at accommodation for the proper last waggons are being built number of waggons, one for at something like a reasonable
speed, but we may still ask why is used to the best advantage. this was not done years ago, Even in the of those before many local industries owned by the companies, we had been depressed by the sheer find an enormous amount of impossibility of getting their light running. There is a goods delivered to the outside simple reason for this. world with any degree of Caledonian waggon is sent with promptitude.
a consignment to Cornwall. One very questionable jus- Within a reasonable time it has tification for the companies' to be returned northwards, parsimony may here be stated. usually by the same route. It is urged that they wished to Clearly, in a number of cases encourage traders, and especi- there will be no return consignally mine-owners, to purchase ment. A few packages may be their own waggons.
thrown in for part of the dispolicy, if it was consciously tance, but in all probability the pursued, an egregious vehicle will run for hundreds of blunder in railway manage- miles absolutely empty. Many ment, while from the point of people think that joint-ownerview of the public it was a ship of waggons would put a crime. Private ownership of stop to a good deal of this waggons is an unmitigated waste. Waggons would be renuisance to the companies. ported at Clearing-House, and Such waggons have to be kept might always be used for the in repair at owner's cost, there work nearest to hand. is the constant and wasteful The common ownership of necessity of running them back goods waggons may, perhaps, “light” to their starting-point, be regarded as a counsel of and they necessitate a good perfection.
But immediate deal of special book-keeping. measures might be taken to Moreover, to compel private pave the way. It is difficult to firms to build
waggons by see why railways, already comstarving them if they refuse, plaining of their utter inability is not simply to throw away a to deal with the traffic, continue great amount of good paying to snatch business from each traffic, but also to place a cruel other at competitive points. A obstacle in the path of the system may be divided, roughly, small capitalist. The big man into congested and non-concan always command attention, gested sections. As a rule, it and it will not ruin him if he will be found that the congested has to build a few waggons for sections coincide with the comhis traffic. But the man whose petitive routes, while along the output is slender finds himself non-congested sections the comin a very different position, nor pany enjoys a monopoly. The would there appear to be any object of good management reason why he should
should be should be to relieve the congesperiodically victimised.
tion where it exists, and to It is a great question whether develop traffic along lines which the present supply of waggons are not yet fully ntilised. The policy at present pursued in already congested metals. Is England is the exact reverse. it
wonder that for the last Year in year out there is a year or two increased receipts bitter struggle for traffic in all have meant diminished divithose large industrial centres dends? A railway, touching where, under any circumstances, such a town as Manchester, business would be brisk. In would lose nothing by abolishorder to carry on the war for a ing the canvasser and letting non-paying turnover, an expen- the trader take his custom sive staff of canvassers has to where he pleased. If traffic be maintained. The trader became slack, it would be the finds himself the centre of cease- more rapidly and cheaply dealt less attentions, and without with.
without with. Promptitude would soon hesitation he takes full advan- recommend the company to the tage of a favourable situation. favour of the public, and an He demands his own terms, independent attitude would be chooses his own rates, and, justified by experience. often enough, indulges his taste The fact, admitted now by for petty fraud. When the practically all railway authoaccount comes to be settled, rities, that congested traffic he threatens to remove his does not pay, makes the treatpatronage elsewhere, and, alto- ment of canals by railways gether, he takes good care that quite inexplicable. The policy the company's profit shall be of Great Britain towards inreduced to vanishing - point. land waterways is unique. In But this does not exhaust the North America, railway presievils of pampering the customer dents are beginning to realise in the big towns. Mr George H. their value as a
of Turner, the General Manager conveying cumbersome traffic of the Midland, admits that which does not admit of any he requires another 20,000 but a cheap rate. In Germany, waggons. A similar need canals are carefully fostered, exists all our railways. despite the cheap railway rates, Therefore, in order to manipu- witness the recent attempt to late the traffic attracted by connect the Rhine and the the smooth-tongued canvasser, Elbe. In the United Kingdom whose living depends upon his alone, we find that canals are plausibility, the companies being starved. It is true that make a regular practice of ours is a small country, that ignoring the claims of their our roads are excellent, our customers in non-competitive railways ubiquitous, and our areas. In other words, they seaboard suitable for coasting refuse good, fully priced traffic traffic. But this only explains on unoccupied metals, in order how we are able to get on to accept shifting, vexatious, without canals. It does not and “ rate - cut traffic over justify their disuse. It is, of
Reply to Mr Justice Wright, and Railway and Canal Commissioners, Nov. 16, 1899.
course, a well-known fact that that all our weigh-bridges and railway companies buy up most of our turn-tables would canals in order to prevent them have to be replaced by others being used as a lever to keep of a larger size. Actually, this down rates, and that in order consideration has led to the to effect a purchase they de- recent cancelling by the Caleliberately starve their rivals donian of an order for a hunby a temporary and arbitrary dred 50-ton mineral waggons. lowering of prices. But having Moreover, the average length overloaded their own metals, of run in America greatly exthe plain man asks why the ceeds what it would be in our companies do not develop over- country. The most expensive flow lines of communication by part of transport is not the means of the very canals which actual haulage, but the shuntthey have acquired. All the ing, loading, and unloading at receipts would belong to the the terminals. These fixed companies as at present, and charges are the same for any the gain through economy length of journey, and the would be immense. Even in smaller the mileage the heavier the case of those canals which the cost per mile. have not resigned their inde- A distinction must always pendence, arrangements might be drawn between mineral be made for mutual working, traffic and goods. In the case with great advantage to both of the former, larger waggons parties.
would be an advantage. In It is often urged that rail- the latter case, however, a way rates in Great Britain are doubt may be fairly enterexorbitant, and unfavourable tained. Great Britain is a comparisons are made with small and thickly populated those in force in Germany and country, where rapid daily comAmerica. It is not easy to munication between town and arrive at reliable figures, but it town has somehow or other to is, generally speaking, true that be arranged for. If, at startour transport per ton-mile is ing-time, a truck is only half very expensive. This is not full, then it cannot be held over altogether the fault of the rail- till next day, whatever might way company, even in the case
be the economy.
It is found of heavy mineral traffic. The in practice that our present Americans able to 3- to 5-ton trucks are quite as trains weighing a thousand or big as we can conveniently fill more tons. Owing to our sid- from day to day; and that, ing and dock accommodation, even so, many run half empty. we have to be content with The average weight of consigntrains a quarter that weight. ments is steadily decreasing, The American mineral waggonowing, no doubt, to the general will carry from .forty to fifty custom of ordering goods in tons. Much as we should like small quantities and often. It to build on this colossal scale, is, therefore, no wonder that we are deterred by the fact enlarged waggons