Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

RAILROAD COMMISSIONERS' REPORT.

STATE OF IOWA,
BOARD OF RAILROAD COMMISSIONERS,

DES MOINES, December 7, 1896.

To the Honorable Francis M. Drake, Governor of Iowa:

In obedience to the law, we, the undersigned railroad commissioners of the state of Iowa, submit the following as the nineteenth annual report of our doings for the preceding year.

It is intended hereby to report such facts, statements and explanations as will disclose the working of the system of railroad transportation in this state and its relation to the general business and prosperity of the citizens of the state and such suggestions and recommendations in respect thereto as to us seem appropriate.

The statutes of the state enjoin upon us the duty to report as to every railroad corporation doing business in the state:

First.— The amount of its capital stock.

Second.-The amount of its preferred stock, if any, and the condition of its preferment.

Third.-The amount of its funded debt and the rate of interest.
Fourth.-The amount of its floating debt.

Fifth.—The cost and actual present cash value of its road and equipment, including permanent way, buildings and rolling stock, all real estate used exclusively in operating the road, and all fixtures and conveniences for transacting its business.

Sixth.—The estimated value of all other property owned by such corporation, with a schedule of the same, not including lands granted in aid of its construction.

To enable us to make this statistical report the statute further provides: "That the president or managing officer of each railroad corporation doing business in this state, shall appually make to the said commissioners, on the 15th day of the month of September, such returns, in the form which they may prescribe, as will afford the information required for their said official report; such returns shall be verified by the oath of the officer making them."

The blank form of report in use by this board has been sent to the proper officer of each railroad corporation with a request to each to furnish the commissioners the information therein called for, and as required by law we have to the extent the information enables us to do, put the same in tabulated form under proper headings.

The same difficulty experienced by our predecessors has come to us in securing the precise definite information suggested by the statute, or that will in an entirely satisfactory manner disclose the workings of the railroad transportation system of the state. This report, therefore, based upon statistics, which in many cases are mere approximations, must itself partake of the nature of an approximation, and hence to a degree be unsatisfactory We, however, give all the information that can be gathered from the reports furnished.

It is due the officers of the corporations to say that the reports generally show painstaking effort, and where they have not complied with the requests made for information, they have in every case given as a reason that their books are not kept in a manner to enable them to furnish the information called for.

Every report of this commission heretofore made has referred to this difficulty in getting this information. We refer to it now as we do because we are not able to report any improvement; and because we are impressed with the value correct statistics would have to the board, to the corporations and to the public.

The importance of correct statistics is seen when we recall that section 2040 of the Code of Iowa provides that:

No railroad company shall charge, demand or receive from any person, company or corporation an unreasonable price for the transportation of persons or property, or for the hand. ling or storing of freight, or for the use of its cars, or for any privilege or service afforded by it in the transaction of its business as a railroad corporation.

And that the following section provides severe penalties for extortion or overcharge on the part of the companies. low shall it be known when these sections become operative without some certain basis founded on correct information to be ascertained from the corporation books as to the business done in the state and the cost of doing it? Until this is realized, the fixing of rates is in a measure experimental and to that degree unsatisfactory.

Further than this, it is undoubtedly in the power of the corporations to so keep their books that this information could be given the commissioners, and also true that the people of this state would be satisfied to pay such rates for transportation as would be a full reasonable compensation based on this accurate information.

This report also gives the decisions on such questions as have come before us for determination, and reports the results in investigations where complaints have been filed; investigations of serious accidents resulting in loss of life; statements of such cases as are pending in the courts where brought by the board to enforce its rulings; and a digest of the decisions of the supreme court of the state made since its last report, so far as they relate to matters pertaining to workings of this board or its duties.

There is also presented as a part of this report a digest of the decisions of the interstate commerce commission for the past year.

EXPRESS COMPANIES AND EXPRESS RATES.

The Twenty-sixth General Assembly passed an act declaring express companies operating and doing business in this state, common carriers, and providing for their regulation and control by the railroad commissioners, as follows:

SEOTION 1. That all express companies operating and doing business in this state are hereby declared to be common carriers, and all laws, so far as applicable, now in force or hereinafter enacted, regulating the transportation of property by railroad companies, shall apply with equal force and effect to express companies.

SEC. 2. The railroad commissioners of this state shall have general supervision of all express compaoles operating and doing busioess in this state, and shall inquire into any unjust discrimination, neglect or violation of the laws of this state governing common carriers, by any express company doing business therein, or by the officers, agents or employes thereof, and said railroad commissioners aro empowered and directed, so far as it may seem to them expedient and practicable under existing statutes, to make for each express company doing business in this state. as soon as practicable, a schedule of reasonable maximum charges or rates for transporting any kind of property carried by such express companies.

And the duties assigned the board of commissioners have been assumed in accordance therewith.

JOINT RATES. The question of joint through rates is one that is constantly arising before this board and has occasioned a great deal of discussion among the different commissioners who have been members of the board since the enactment of the present law. In the report made by the board for the year 1895, this question was quite exhaustively presented and treated in all of its various phases, and as there has been no change in the law or other decision of the supreme court on this subject since that time, we deem it unnecessary to add anything further in regard thereto at this time.

FARM CROSSINGS,

As the population of the state increases and the need of more and faster trains becomes more pressing, the question of grade or other crossings becomes of greater importance. The full discussions accorded it in the previous reports of this board indicate its importance to land owners and occupants, to the roads and to the great traveling public, and in several of these reports additional legislation has been recommended “ defining what shall be an adequate crossing." In the “ Warnock case,” decided by the supreme court of Iowa at the October term, 1896, the court say:

State er rel. Stone, Attorney General, v. Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railway Com piny. (Supreme Court of Iowa. October 26, 1893.) Railroads-Farm Crossings-Adequate Crossings-Convenience of Land Owner.

1. Code, & 1268, providing that, upon the request of any person owning land on both sides of a railway, the company shall construct and maintain one causeway or other adequate means of crossing, with cattle guards, cannot be construed as entitling the land owner to demand other means of crossing, on the ground of convenience or profit, if the causeway is or may be made adequate.

2. The fact that the causeway so constructed is inconvenient, in that its use requires the laad owner to open and close gates in order to cross the railroad, does not render it inadequate.

3. Upon an application to the railroad commissioners for an order requiring a railroad to construct an undergrade crossing in addition to a causeway connecting the two parts of applicant's farm, on the ground that it was inconvenient and inadequate, in that the owner was obliged to open and close gates each time he drove his stock to water, it appeared that in all other respects it was or could be made adequate. Held, that an order requiring the railrcad company to construct such undergrade crossing was unreasonable.

Appeal from district court, Keokuk county; Benjamin McCoy, judge.

Action in equity to enforce an order of the railroad commissioners requiring the defendapt to construct and maintain, for the complainant, Alexander Warnock, on his farm, an undergrade passageway for stock, in addition to his present gr cro sing. Upon a hearing in the district court, decree was entered affirming said order, and judgment was rendered agalost defendant for $175 attorney's fees for prosecuting this action, from which decree and judgment the defendant appeals. Reversed.

Woodin & Son, S. K. Tracy and Robert Mather, for appellant. Milton Remley, attorneygeneral, O. G. Johnson, and L. C. Blanchard, for appellee.

GIVIN, J. 1. Appellant's counsel state as their first conteution that the order made and affirmed is "unreasonable and unjust; that the crossing now used by complainant is good, suficient, adequate, and located at a reasonable place." Appellee's counsel contand that, under the facts, the crossing now used is not adequate, and that said order is reasonable. The relief asked by Mr. Warnock is under section 1268 of the Code, and, to determine this contention, we first inquire to what he is entitled under said section, which section is as follows: “When any person owas land on both sides of any railway, the corporation owning the same shall, when requested to do so, make and keep in good repair one cattle guard and one causeway or other adequate means of crossing the same at such reasonable place as may be designated by the owner." The words “one cattle guard," as here used, do not mean a singlo structure on one side of a causeway, such as is usually known as a “cattle guard,” for such an arrangement would fail to serve the intended purpose, and be perilous to stock and to the operation of trains. “One cattle guard," as here used, manifestly means such guard as will prevent stock from going from the causeway onto the track on either side. "A'causeway is defined by Webster to be a way raised above the natural level of the ground, by stones, earth, timber, fascines, etc. As applied to a railroad, it must mean & way raised above the road. A way so raised and properly constructed the law recognizes as adequate.” Gray v. Railroad Co., 37 Iowa, 123. In State v. Chicago, M. & St. P. Ry. Co., 86 Iowa, at page 310, 53 N. W., 254, it is said “that grade crossings are the rule in this st ite." Owing to the topography of the state and the usual size of farms, grade crossings are usually adequate, and hence “are the rule in this state." Unquestionably, Mr. Warnock is entitled to one cattle guard and one causeway, as defined above, that will afford him adequate means of crossing, and 11, from any cause, he cannot have a cattle guard and causeway that are adequate, he is entitled to other adequate means of crossing. The intent of section 1268 plainly is that, when requested, the land owner is entitled to a causeway, a grade crossing, properly guarded, that will be adequate means of crossing; and when, from any cause, this cannot be, he is then entitled to have such other means of crossing as will be adequate. “Adequate; equal to what is required; suitable to the case or occasion; fully sufficient; proportionate." Standard Dict Eng. Language; And. L iw Dict. It has never been held uader this statute that a land owner was entitled to more than one means of crossing. In State v. Ohicago, M. & St. P. Ry. Co., supra, wherein an overhead crossing had been ordered, it is said: “We do not determine that there may not be cases where an overhead crossing may properly be required." In case of Gray v. Railroad Co., supra, the right of way deed contained this clause: “Provided the said company make and keep in good repair two causeways or other adequate means of crossing, it I should require it." It was held that, in accepting the deed, the company undertook to make and keep in repair two causeways or other adequate means of crossing; that one of the crossings provided was not adequate; and that the plaintiff was entitled to have it an open grade crossing, as a means of passing to and from his residence to the public highway. In view of the provision in said deed, this case is not authority for holding that a land owner may ba entitled to more than one meias of crossing. Our view of section 1288 is that adequate means of crossing is what the land owner is entitled to, and, when that cannot be provided by a surface crossing at a reasonable place, it must be by such other or additional means as are adequate. As tending to support this view, see Curtis v. Railway Co., 02 Iowa, 418, 17 N. W., 591; Boggs v. Railroad Co., 51 Iowa, 435, 6 N. W., 744; Gray v. Railroad 00, supra; State v. Ohicago, M. & St. P. Ry. Co., supra.

2. With these views of the law in mind, we now inquire whether, under the facts, the order as made and affirmed is reasonable.

The commissioners made a full finding of the facts, the correctness of which is not disputed, and which are as follows: That the complainant, Alexander Warnock, is the owner in fee and in possession of the 8. E. 4 of section 20, in township 77 N., of range 12, W. of fifth P. M., Iowa, in the county of Keokuk; that said premises are all inclosed and under cultivation, and the owner raises and sells cattle and horses, milk, and makes butter for market from a number of cows, ranging from 4 at some seasons, to 14 at others, and he uses said premises as a stock and dairy farm; that his entire herd of cattle, including milk cows, will average about 20 head, and his average number of horses about 15 head; that the defendant, the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railway company, owns and operates a line of railway which crosses said quarter section of land owned by plaintiff east and west, near the center of the same; that on this line of railroad on said premises, and about 20 rods west of the east li of said quarter section, there is a fill or embankment about 11 feet in height or depth; that about 45 rods west of the east line of said premises there is a grade crossing for the use of plaintiff; that said line of railroad is fenced its entire length through or across sald premises, and plaintiff's oniy means of access to sald grade crossing is through gates placed in the line of the fence on each side of the railroad right of way opposite said crossing; that said gates are 18 feet in length, composed of 6 boards about 8 inches in widtb, running lengthwise, with crosy pieces of same material, and said gates are hung on a cross plece nailed to two posts set near together, and, to open the same, the gates are shoved back on this cross piece, and then carried around out of the way by the person opening the same; that sald gates are heavy and somewhat unwieldy and difficult to handle, but are substantially such as are quite commonly used by farmers in that locality, as well as by said railroad company at farm crossings; that said farm crossing at grade for plaintiff is in good condition in every respect, except as to said gates, and the same is in a good and convenient place for plaintiff; that the defendant is ready and willing to repair or replace said gates by proper and suitable ones, and, if that is done, plaintiff's present crossing is fully up to the standard of the usual and ordinary farm crossing at grade as ordinarily constructed in this state; that there is no cattle guard upon either side of said crossing; that plaintiff's dwelling house and farm buildiogs are situated near the center of the southeast 40 acres of said quarter section in question, and his permanent supply of water for stock, consisting of a well and two artificial ponds, also grove used for shade and shelter to stock, with yards and other improvements for the convenient prosecution of his business, are all located or situated near to said dwelling house, on the same 40 acres, and all on the south part of sald premises as divided by said line of railroad; that there is a highway on the east, and also on the south line of said quarter section, and to reach the highway, as the plaintiff usually travels from his dwelling house, he goes south about 30 rods to the east and west highway on the south line of said quarter section; that the distance from the plaintiff's dwelling house to the farm crossing he now has over the railroad is about 55 rods; and from said crossing to plaintiff's watering place for his stock is about 40 rods; that, to rotate his crops and properly carry on his farming operations, it is necessary for plaintiff to have, during some seasons, pasture for his stock on the north side of said railroad, and during the present season, and for several prior thereto, plaintiff's pasture for stock has been on that side of said railroad; that during a large part of the season all the water for plaintiff's stock was obtained by driving the same across said rallroad from the north to the south side thereof, over said grade crossing; that from the evidence it does not appear reasonably certain that, at a reasonable expense, a permanent supply of water for stock, by wells or ponds, can be obtained on plaintiff's land on the north side of said rallroad; that the defendant obtained its right of way across plaintiff's premises by deed from him, dated November 5, 1879, for the consideration of $112.60, said right of way being 100 feet wide across said premises, and, as said deed expresses it, “ for the purpose of constructing a railway thereon, and for all uses and purposes connected with the use of said railway, and to have, hold, and enjoy the land described forever, for any and all uses and purposes in any way connected with the construction, operation, preservatio3, occupation, and improvement of the said railway;" that the railroad in question was built across the premises of plaintiff in the latter part of the year 1879, and since that time said right of way has been in possession of defendant, and said railroad has been operated by it, and the plaintiff has had during that time only the ordinary farm crossing at grade hereinbefore mentioned; that during the hot and dry season the plaintiff is put to much extra labor and expense in driving his milk cows and other stock back and forth across said railway track, which should be avoided by a crossing for such stock undor said railway; that east of the present crossing, and at the embankment or fill about 20 rods east of the west line of plaintiff's premises hereinbefore mentioned, there is a proper, reasonable, and convenient place to put in an under crossing of sufficient width and height for stock to pass through; that such undercrossing should be not less than 4 feet in width and 6 feet high; that the cost or expense of putting in an undercrossing of that size, built in a good and substantial manner, of iron and stone, and covered with the latter material, so as to make the same as permanent as practicable, is about the sum of $575, and, if built of wood, about $250, as appears from the evidence submitted on part of the defendant; that the plaintiff has heretofore requested the defendant to put in a suitable undercrossing at the place hereinbefore specified, which the defondant has refused to do.

Upon these facts, the commissioners concluded and ordered as follows: “It seems to the commissioners, from the evidence in this case, that the complainant, Mr. Warnock, during a coosiderable portion of the year, suffers as much, if not greater, inconvenience and damage, by reason of having to open the gates at the crossing, as he now has, and in being compelled to drive his milk cows and other stock back and forth over said crossing to water and to shelter, than would many persons residing upon a farm in which a railroad had to be crossed to reach the dwelling house; and that the circumstances of this case would bring it within the principles laid down by the supreme court in the cases of Gray v. Railroad Co., and Boggs v. Railroad Co., and the Cutler Case, herein referred to. And the commissioners find, as a matter of fact, that the said complainant has not an adequate means of crossing defendant's railroad, as claimed by him in bis petition herein; that his means of crossin; said railroad would be adequate il, 1o addition to his present grade crossing, a passage for stock, four feet wide by

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »