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but from the nature of the accidents above enumerated, we can not doubt that, if such modern appliances and inventions, as are now available, were used, many of the lives and limbs of operatives on railroads would be saved.
It is not a little surprising, that when the dangers to trainmen are so great, so many young men are willing to engage in such hazardous employment, especially when we consider the average wages paid for such employment and the slight chances of future promotion for care and faithfulness in the discharge of their duties.
It appears from the report of the Bureau of Industrial and Labor Statistics of Maine, that the average monthly wages paid is as follows: Engineers
$69 46 Firemen...
41 45 Passenger Conductors..
59 56 Freight Conductors.
60 17 Brakemen ..
39 96 From the above, it is clear that it is not because greater wages are paid for such service, that young men are induced to risk their lives and limbs in such employment.
By the laws of many of our states (though not in Maine), railroad companies are held legally liable for physical damage to their employes, though resulting from causes beyond the reasonable control of executive management. In England, a workman (in railroad or other hazardous service), when injured or his legal representative, in case the injury results in death, has the same right of compensation and remedies against the employer, as if he had not been a workman nor engaged in the services of the employer, though the law is carefully guarded and is only effective under certain conditions and circumstances. In view of the dangers to which these men are subjected, and the fact that railroad corporations, umler our laws, are exempted from liability, is it not clearly the duty of railroad corporations to use all the means within their power, and adopt every device that will in any
manner lessen the dangers to which these employes are daily exposed? And in addition, we again repeat what we said in our report for 1889 upon this subject.
“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 as 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.”
AUTOMATIC COUPLERS. As has already been shown, during the year ending June 30, 1889, out of 138,323 train-men in the United States, 300 were killed and 6,757 injured in coupling and uncoupling cars. In no other branch of the service are men exposed to so much danger. Generally the link and pin coupler of by-gone days is still in use. Brakemen are still compelled to go between freight cars to couple or uncouple them.
Hardly a day passes but on taking up a newspaper, we see the account of an accident to some one who has been killed or severely injured in so doing. In our last report, we said that "Wbile satisfactory progress is being made in the operation of railroads and trains in most respects, little, if any, is being made in the methods of coupling freight cars in this or in 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 above statement is applicable to the present situation. So far as appears, no progress is being made in this State, nor throughout the country, in the substitution of automatic freight car couplers in place of the link and pin. As we stated in our former report, we believe the action of the Master Car Builders' Association in adopting the Janney Type of coupler was premature and ill advised; not because that type of coupler was without merit, but because no coupler of that type had been invented or was in use at the time of its adoption, but that when subjected to practical or physical tests, failed to meet the requirements of the service. This fact was clearly shown by the report of tests made by competent mechanical engineers shortly after said adoption. Since that time several railroad corporations, especially in the West, have followed the recommendations of this association, in adopting that type of coupler; but so far ils we can learn, no coupler of the vertical plane type, so far used, has given satisfaction by reason of structural weakness. For some cause, whatever it may be, the attitude of practical railroad managers has been and still is adverse to its adoption and use.
No attempt has yet been made by any railroad corporation in tbis State or in New England to even give this type of coupler a trial; neither is there in New England any type of automatic coupler in use to-day. Whether the aforesaid action of the Master Car Builders' Association wils premature or not, no sufficient excuse remains to-day for still using the old-fashioned draw-bar and link and pin couplings, thereby subjecting train-men to the dangers incident to coupling cars with that device.
Among the thousands of automatic couplings which have been invented, there are now many, which upon tests and trials, are shown to be practical. This, too, is true as to the type of coupler recommended by the Master Car Builders' Association, by reason of inventions and improvements made since the adoption of that type by that association, therefore this slaughter of train-men should cease.
Railroad corporations should immediately select and adopt some one of these safety appliances we have mentioned, without waiting to be compelled to do so by law. If delayed longer it will and ought to arouse in the people of this country a feeling of intense indignation.
HEATING PASSENGER, MAIL AND BAGGAGE CARS. In obedience to the provisions of Chapter 275 of the Public Laws of 1889, railroad corporations have generally discarded the use of what would reasonably be termed common stoves, for heating passenger, mail and baggage cars, and steam direct from the locomotive, has been generally substituted as a means of heating, though other methods of heating but little safer than the common stove, are still in use on many railroads in this State. While this fact would seem to be a violation of the provisions of the statute, which is being permitted by the Board, we can only give as an excuse the one we gave in our last annual report, viz:
“The Board upon investigation, found that a statute, similar to the one enacted in this State, had been in force in the states of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and that the Railroad Commissioners of those states had approved all methods of heating cars, other than by what might be called 'common stoves.' As the railroad system of this State is so closely connected with those of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and as passenger, mail and baggage cars are daily being exchanged, it did not seem to this Board to be wise or expedient to adopt a rule or regulation as to approvals, differing from that adopted in those other states, acting under like or similar statutes.
The Board, therefore, feeling that, as the method of heating cars was necessarily in a transitional and experimental state, and that the best methods of heating may not yet have been devised, determined to temporarily approve all methods which had been approved by the commissioners of the above named states, and such other heaters as railroad corporations might desire to use, other than common stoves.”
On investigation the present year, the Board found that practically the same condition of things still existed. No material change in the laws of those states had been made, nor in the approvals of methods of heating. Accordingly feeling that it would be unwise to attempt the enforcement of a different rule from that adopted by the commissioners of those states, while cars were being exchanged and passing daily from the jurisdiction of one state to another, we have again temporarily approved the methods of heating above mentioned.
That heating by steam is the safest and best method yet devised, we have little doubt; but in many particulars, as now applied and regulated, it is far from being satisfactory. One can suffer from excessive heat as well as from excessive cold. A certain amount of heat is required to make a passenger car comfortable. If the pipes, which, by the methods
, now in use, extend along the floor and sides of the car, convey the requisite amount of steam to warm the car, the person who is obliged to sit along side and over them, is apt to be far from comfortable. A method of heating our dwelling houses, by direct steam, arranged in such a manner, that some member of the family would have to sit on top of the radiator, would not ordinarily be considered a satisfactory arrangement. That the requisite amount of heat from steam taken from the locomotive to heat an ordinary train of cars, can be obtained without material detriment to the motive power, has been sufficiently demonstrated. How to distribute and regulate such heat, so as to make each passenger in the car comfortable, is not so well known. We mention these facts in this connection, merely to show that while by the use of steam for heating purposes, the danger to passengers from fires is eliminated, there is yet much to be done