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Thursday, Aug. 28th and 29th 1889, for the purpose of hearing all persons and parties interested in said subject, and determining the methods that may be used in heating cars as aforesaid, in this State.
Per order of the Board,
E. C. FARRINGTON, Clerk.
At said meeting, a hearing was given to inventors and all other persons and parties interested, who desired to be heard relative to same. After the hearing, a circular was sent by order of the Board, to the several railroad corporations operating railroads in this State, as follows:
OFFICE OF RAILROAD COMMISSIONERS,
AUGUSTA, August 29, 1889. To the General Managers and Superintendents of Railroads in the State of Maine.
GENTLEMEN :-Section 1 of Chapter 275, Public Laws of 1889, provides as follows:
“No passenger, mail or baggage car, on any railroad in this State, shall be heated by any method of heating, or by any furnace or heater, unless such method or the rise of such furnace or beater shall first have been approved in writing by the Board of Railroad Commissioners :"
Notice is hereby given that the Board of Railroad Commissioners will be in session at their office in Augusta, on Saturday, the 7th day of September, 1889, at ten o'clock in the forenoon, for the purpose of receiving and considering applications for approval of methods of heating as provided above. All applications must be in writing, and shall fully state the methods and character of the heater, which such applicant desires to adopt, and the purposes for which the same shall be used.
Per order of Board,
E. C. FARRINGTON, Clerk.
In response to said circular, applications were received from the Maine Central, Boston & Maine, Portland & Rochester, Knox & Lincoln, Rumford Falls & Buckfield and New Brunswick railroad companies, asking an approval of the Sewall system of steam heating, together with other heaters (not common stoves), to be used as auxiliary heaters, including the Baker and Johnson, Edwards, Spear, et al.
The Grand Trunk, Canadian Pacific and all other railroad corporations not mentioned above, operating railroads in the State, asked permission to use some of the last named beaters, solely in all of such cars belonging to them. These requests were granted and the several heaters mentioned were approved by the Board and written permission given to each company, to use the same until July 1st 1890, at which date all of said approvals expire by limitation.
Railroad companies, which have attempted the use of steam from the locomotive as a means of heating their passenger, mail and baggage cars, have been greatly delayed in procuring necessary equipments and skilled mechanics to do the work. They have, too, been greatly hindered in the application of their steam heating system, by reason of being obliged to couple on and haul cars coming from other railroads not so equipped, especially the Pullman Drawing Room and Sleeping cars, which, until very recently, were all warmed by the “Baker Heater," so called. So far, the efforts made to heat trains by steam from the locomotive, have shown it to be feasible ; and the methods used have been generally satisfactory to both passengers and railroad officials.
We trust that the experimental stage of testing methods of heating will soon have passed, and that steam or some other method will soon be universally adopted, so that inside heaters now used, many of which are little better than the common car stove, can be wholly discarded.
AUTOMATIC COUPLERS. While satisfactory progress is being made in the operation of railroads and trains in most respects, little, if any, is be
ing made in the methods of coupling freight cars, in this or other states.
Statistics show that the seemingly unnecessary mutilation and loss of life of men engaged in coupling and uncoupling freight cars, still goes on. The action taken by the Master Car Builder's Association, in the adoption of the “Janney type” of coupler, has, we believe, tended more to binder than to promote the general adoption and use of automatic couplers.
At the time of the adoption of that “type” of coupler, by said association, so far as appears by reliable reports, no coupler of that type had been invented, which, when subjected to practical or physical tests, would meet the requirements of the service. For that reason, we believe the attitude of practical railroad managers was adverse to its adoption. As many improvements have since been made upon the type of coupler selected by that association, it now may be more generally adopted.
The freight traflic on railroads, in this as in other states, being interstate, few attempts, if any, have been made by our Legislature, to enact laws relative to safety appliances ; neither bas this Board deemed it wise to urge legislation in that respect, believing, as we do, that all attempts on the part of individual states, to legislate as to character or kind of safety appliances, especially on freight trains, must, by reason of conflicting laws, result in hindrance and loss to ruilroad corporations, and failure to accomplish the object desired.
RAILROAD EMPLOYES. As a means of promoting the efficiency of railroad employes, and to stimulate them to faithfulness in the discharge of their duties, we believe it would be wise for railroad managers to adopt a system of grading in each department, with a corresponding compensation for each grade. Where the lives of the traveling public and the property of the corporation, depend for their preservation, upon the experience, care and faithfulness, in the discharge of the duties, with
which almost every employe is necessarily entrusted, none too great care can be exercised in their selection. Neither is it just to the employe who has for years exercised skill, care and faithfulness in the discharge of every duty entrusted to him, to have nothing held up, to which he may attain, as a reward for exercising such skill and faithfulness, by way of increased pay or promotion. We are confident that if some such policy is above outlined, should be adopted by railroad officials and managers, greater efficiency would be secured, and a better feeling would exist between employer and employe.
ACCIDENTS. While we have to report that two fatal accidents have occurred to passenger trains during the past year, we are pleased to be able to state that no passenger on said trains was seriously injured, and so far as this Board is informed, no accident of a serious nature has occurred in this State, which could be attributed to defects or want of repair in tracks, bridge structures or rolling stock of any railroad.
By law, it is made the duty of the Board when a serious accident occurs to any train on a railroad, to investigate the same and in their report make a full statement of the cause of such accident. Said statute, chapter 321, Public Laws of 1885 is as follows:
When a serious accident occurs to any train on a railroad, immediate notice thereof shall be given in writing by the officers of the company operating such railroad, to the chairman of the board of Railroad Commissioners, who shall, if he deems the public interest to require it, cause an investigation to be made at once by said board; and for such purpose any member of said board shall have power to send for such evidence as he believes necessary; and said commissioners shall, in their annual report, make a full statement of the cause of such accident. The expense of such investigation, including witnesses, shall be paid from the State treasury on certificate of the Board of Commissioners. Witnesses in
all cases before said board, shall be allowed the same fees as in the Supreme Judicial Court."
Soon after the enactment of the above statute, doubts were expressed by many as to what might be considered “a serious accident" to a train on a railroad, within the meaning of the law.
That there might be no misapprehension as to the nature of an accident the Board of Commissioners would deem serious, a circular, calling attention to and quoting the said statute, was issued by the Board January 18 1888, and mailed to all railroad companies operating railroads in the State with the following interpretation thereof by the Board, Viz:
1st.-—“Every accident to a passenger or freight train, of an important nature, where the jives of passengers or employes on said train are lost or endangered, shall be deemed serious and notice of same shall be given."
2nd.-—"Of every accident of a serious or important nature happening on any railroad in the State, the cause of which is doubtful or uncertain, immediate notice should be given.”
Notwithstanding the provisions of statute and the precaution which the Board has taken to have such provisions complied with, many railroad corporations still fail to give the Board notice of such accidents. And in some instances, if given at all, it is not given till many hours after the same has occurred. Such failures to give notice to the Board may not be intentional on the part of the officers of railroad companies. We doubt if it is; but if we can rely upon newspaper reports, many such accidents have occurred to trains on railroads during the past year, of which the Board received no notice from the officers of the companies operating the
Undoubtedly the object of the statute in providing for such investigation and report of same is not merely to ascertain in what manner certain persons lost their lives or were injured ; but that the public and the corporation operating the road should be informed of the nature and the cause of the accident,