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EXPENSES OF THE COMMISSION

The expenses of the Commission from November 1st, 1908, to November 1st, 1909, were as follows:

Salaries of Commissioners.
Salaries of Clerks.....
Salaries and expenses of Experts and Inspectors..
Traveling expenses of Commissioners and Inspectors.
Furniture
Rent
Miscellaneous expenses
Salary and expenses of Automatic Coupler Inspector.

.$15,000 00

5,700 00 12,500 00 1,987 60

178 00 2,000 00 1,259 10 2,480 43

Total

. $41,105 19

ANNUAL REPORT

OF THE

Railroad Commission of Ohio

Columbus, Ohio, December 15, 1909.

Hon. Judson Harmon, Governor of Ohio:

Sir:-In accordance with the requirements of the law, the Railroad Commission of Ohio has the honor to submit herewith for your consideration its fourth annual report, being for the year ending June 30, 1909.

The work and duties of the Commission include the hearing and determining of complaints, both of a formal and informal character, the gathering of statistics relating to the organization and operation of steam and electric railroads and of express and telegraph companies, and a supervision and regulation of these public utilities to the extent that the statutes have conferred authority upon this body.

This report contains a digest of the causes of complaint filed with the Commission, with a brief statement of the action of the Commission thereon. A number of the cases thus treated may appear to be of a rather insignificant character, yet to the persons and communities affected they are of considerable moment, and it has been deemed advisable to make them public in this manner for their educational value. All regulative measures concerning carriers that have been

. placed upon the statute books and all the powers lodged with this Commission have been made necessary by the failure of the carriers to consistently recognize and give due regard to the interests, welfare and rights of the public in the actual operation of these necessary enterprises. It is not the province of the Commission to stir up strife, encourage contention or litigation, or to create or foster a spirit of antagonism as between the carrier and the public, but rather the contrary, yet the people have a right to be informed concerning the duties of the carriers to the public, as set out in the statutes and disclosed in the decisions of the courts, and to become familiar with the manner in which these rights may be enforced or their infringement prevented; both the public and the carriers should know that this body stands perfectly unbiased to resist the unjustifiable exactions of the one, as well as the aggressions of the other. A perusal of thiese adjudicated cases will furnish full information as to the nature of the complaints that the Commission has been called upon to entertain, and the findings and decisions thereon will indicate the limits of the rights and obligations of the contending parties.

The annual reports of both steam and interurban lines, as well as those of express companies, made to the Commission for the present year, are rendered on forms almost identical with those prescribed by the Interstate Commerce Commission. During the past year the auditors of the interurban roads were called in conference with the Commission and the subject of a uniform system of accounts was discussed and agreed upon, which new system became effective January I, 1909, and while this classification had only been in effect six months at the time of the closing of the fiscal year, the electric lines were instructed to so adjust their accounts for the six months ending December 31, 1908, so as to be able to file their reports for the entire year on the new forms prescribed.

The reports of the express companies for the present year are, for the first time, rendered on forms similar to those prescribed by the Interstate Commerce Commission; these forms only having been adopted one year ago, it was impossible to require reports from these carriers on the new forms at an earlier date.

All reports made by the diffrent carriers to this Commission now being rendered in conformity to those prescribed by the Interstate Commerce Commission, the labor in compiling such reports will be greatly facilitated and the adjustment of accounts on the part of electric lines to a state of uniformity will be especially helpful.

A vast amount of information, extremely valuable to a large number of persons, is to be found in the statistical tables included herein. The reports from which these tables are compiled are furnished by the railroad, express and telegraph companies, verified by the oaths of the proper officials, and embody the results of a no inconsiderable expenditure of time and money. After being filed, they are worked into a form of practical utility, and this method of distri bution brings them to the desk of the student, the business man, the legislator, the economist, or whoever may find them useful. Not only are reports for individual years valuable and instructive, but many interesting inferences and deductions may be made from a comparison of reports covering different periods. Thus, in the matter of men employed and wages paid by railroads, the report for the year ending June 30, 1908, shows that the number of men employed by all railroads in the state of Ohio was 90,410, and $64,127,757.31 was paid in wages, For the year ending June 30, 1909, 97,509 men were employed and received in wages the sum of $61,112,641.60, demonstrating that while for the latter year a larger number of men found employment in these lines of industry, yet in the aggregate they received less pay for their services.

These tables disclose also that there is no increase in the main line mileage of the steam roads in this state during the past year The point seems to have been reached where, for the present at least, the carriers now in operation can furnish transportation facilities in the matter of main line trackage to meet all the requiremnets of the shipping interests; and it may also be significant of the influence of the introduction of electricity as a motive power. However, the construction departments of the steam roads have not been idle, but their energies have been devoted to the improvement of existing road bed and tracks, the installation of additional sidings and in the converting into double track of single track lines. The greatest encouragement should be given to the continuance of these activities, since they enter so largely into the problem of safe and efficient operation.

It would seent that the apparent car shortage which at times is disastrous to shipping interests is not entirely due to an actual insufficiency of car equipment, but, to some extent at least, to an insufficiency of motive power, terminal facilities and second track. Many railways in this section of the country are vainly striving to handle double-track traffic on single-track lines. If cars are not moved withi sufficient expedition they are, to just that extent, unavailable for use. It is undoubtedly true that when the car famine is most acute few of the railroads in this section could handle a larger equipment if they had it, because of insufficient track facilities. By this is not meant that additional main line is needed, but, rather, that the existing main line mileage should be supplemented by more second tracks and by more trackage at terminals. It is customary for railway officials to lay upon shippers and receivers the responsibility for car famines, the claim being that if there was less car detention by shippers and receivers, there would be cars for all. The careful student will find this claim to be unfounded; that the detention by shippers and receivers is a negligible quantity when compared to the delays to cars in transit because of inadequate facilities of carriers.

The reports of fatalities in this state made to the Commission for the year ending June 30, 1909, shows that no fewer than 883 persons were injured on account of trespassing upon the steam and electric railways of the state. Of this number 431 were killed. This is 298 greater than the number of persons injured at grade crossings in this state during the year, and while this evil of trespassing will probably always exist to some extent, it is gratifying to observe that the matter is receiving attention by the different state commissions, as well as by the railroads, looking toward remedying this evil as far as possible.

Without calling to our aid as an argument the example and experience of other states of the Union which have had the services of railroad commissions for a longer period than this state has had, the work actually done and the good accomplished both for the carriers and the people by this Commission places its existence beyond the experimental or problematical stage, so that no time need be devoted to a discussion of that phase of the subject. It is a fact, however, apparent to all investigators and observers that the future usefulness and efficiency of this Commission could be greatly enhanced by a revision of the railroad laws that have accumulated during a period of years, and a strengthening and clarifying of the commission act itself. The powers conferred upon the Commission should be so clearly defined as to reduce to a minimum, or entirely obviate, the necessity of appealing to the courts for a definition of the statutes, or an interpretation of the powers of the Commission, and the orders of the Commission should be capable of prompt enforcement. The penalties for a violation of the law and a disobedience of the legitimate orders of the Commission should be so exact in their nature and sufficiently severe as to command the respect of the offender.

The carriers should be so clearly classified by statute as to remove the present ambiguity with which the decisions of the courts and indefinite enactments have surrounded them. Little or no difficulty is experienced in this particular respect in connection with steam roads, but the application of a different motive power, the employment of varying methods of operation, the lack of specific legislation and the uncertain character of current enactments, and the conflicting decisions of the courts have so obscured this branch of the subject as to make it difficult to determine in a given case just what the duties of the carriers and the powers of the Commission' are in regard thereto. The situation presents no inherent difficulties, but is capable of a complete rectification by a careful and judicious formulation of new and amendatory legislation. Without attempting to detail all the legislation that would be advisable and valuable along these lines, it is apparent that the Commission Act should be so amended as to clearly prescribe the manner in which its orders in all cases may be enforced and the penalties for disobedience thereof prescribed and clearly defined. Steam, electric, interurban and street railways should be so accurately defined, described and classified that the law applying to each and all should be so clearly indicated that there need be no doubt either as to their duties or the authority of the Commission over them. The hours of service law, the full crew law and the law relating to the blocking of angles and frogs in switches are also in need of amendatory language to make them useful and effective.

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