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riage, and complainant submitted no proof showing that the carriers made a through route in fact by their course of business.
Open-end envelopes, made by a different and cheaper process than that employed in the manufacture of other open-end or side envelopes, and usually from an inferior grade of paper, were nevertheless made, used, and shipped like merchandise envelopes, and not like paper bags, for which the carriers provided a lower classification and rate; and we held, in dismissing the complaint, that placing complainant's envelopes in the higher class, covering merchandise envelopes, was not unlawful.
On complaint of unlawful discrimination against Cincinnati in favor of Louisville through enforcing certain differentials above the rates from Louisville on traffic from Cincinnati to points in the Southern States, included in so-called “Montgomery and Southwestern Territory," it appeared that Cincinnati, on the north bank of the Ohio, and from which traffic to the South is carried over an expensive bridge, is under a natural disadvantage as to such traffic in comparison with Louisville, situated on the south bank of the river, and also about 100 miles nearer to the destination points in question. Moreover, if any • improper discrimination actually resulted against Cincinnati, it was not shown whether the inequality arose from rates north or south of the Ohio, and carriers operating north of the river were not made parties. On the other hand, it did fairly appear that if the differentials should be entirely abolished, rates from a large section north of the Ohio would be against Louisville. The object of the complaint was to prohibit the differentials, and no other adjustment was prayed for. The complaint was dismissed.
Alleged undue prejudice, caused by the refusal of a carrier to provide and maintain a spur or side track from its line to complainant's mill and elevator at a point in South Dakota, was not sustained by the evidence adduced as to provision and maintenance of side tracks from the carrier's line to mills or elevators at other points in that State, and the complaint was accordingly dismissed.
In a case of relative rates on potatoes from points in Michigan to points in Texas, the demand of complainant was modified at the hearing so that a total rate to Texas points from Cadillac, Mich., which would not be more than 6 cents above the rate from Grand Rapids, Mich., would amount to satisfaction of the complaint. That relation having been made effective, the case was dismissed. It appeared, however, that defendants, operating southwest from the Mississippi River, charged their local or separately established rates on Cadillac shipments and accepted less than such charges on shipments from Grand Rapids and various other points of origin, and such practice of “shrinking” rates was not approved.
The points decided by the Commission up to the date of this report, with reference to volume and page in Interstate Commerce Commission Reports, the authorized publication of our decisions, are stated in Appendix B, hereto.
July 3, 1897, the Commission, with a view to ascertaining what progress had been made by various railroads to bring themselves within the requirements of sections 1 and 2 of the safety-appliance act, approved March 2, 1893, and becoming effective January 1, 1898, issued an order requiring all common carriers engaged in interstate commerce to report the total number of freight cars owned by them, and the estimated number which would be equipped January 1, 1898, with the train brake and automatic coupler.
In compliance with this order replies were received from 516 operating roads, reporting 1,167,926 cars as owned by them.
It was ascertained from other sources that 44 operating roads, with 1,892 freight cars, made no reply; 63 operating roads, with 5,306 freight cars, claimed not to be subject to the act, and 188 operating roads reported as owning no freight cars.
About October 1, 1897, the Chicago and Alton Railroad Company filed a petition with the Commission asking for an extension of time under the seventh section of the act, and similar petitions were also received from other carriers. In consequence of these, and for the purpose of considering at one time whatever applications of this sort might be made, the Commission, October 8, 1897, entered a general order addressed to all carriers engaged in interstate traffic, by which it was directed that any petitions which might be filed before November 15 should stand for hearing on December 1, 1897. The order further required that notice to the public of all such petitions should be given in a manner specified, and that there should be filed along with each petition a statement under oath, setting forth, among other things, the total number of freight cars owned by the petitioner which would be equipped with train brakes and automatic couplers on December 1, 1897.
A copy of this order was sent to all interstate carriers, and as a result 294 operating roads filed petitions with the Commission asking for an extension of time beyond January 1, 1898. These petitioning roads owned a total of 1,164,932 freight cars. Of these, 29 roads, owning 125,413 freight cars, reported that they would, on January 1, 1898, have all their cars equipped with the automatic coupler; 43 roads, owning 195,512 freight cars, more than 75 per cent and less than 100 per cent; 55 roads, owning 394,700 freight cars, more than 50 and less than 76 per cent; 48 roads, owning 240,716 freight cars, more than 25 and less than 51 per cent; 27 roads, owning 107,765 freight cars, more than 10 and less than 26 per cent; 20 roads, owning 74,901 freight cars, more than 1 and less than 11 per cent; while 72 roads, owning 25,925 freight cars, had equipped none of them with automatic couplers.
It will be seen, therefore, that all the freight cars owned by railroad companies were represented by these petitions except about 74,600, and it appears from the previous returns of September 1, 1897, that
about 39,264 of those cars are owned by companies which will have substantially completed their equipment with the coupler by January 1,1898. It should be observed, however, that many cars used in interstate commerce are not owned by any railroad company, but are the property of private car companies who lease in various ways their cars to the carriers operating them. The number of such cars is estimated to be 121,768, approximately, and as to the progress which has been made in the equipment of these cars we are without any definite information.
More cars had been equipped with the coupler than with the air brake. As a rule the work of equipment has gone on together, so that the company which is farthest advanced in the matter of couplers is usually proportionally advanced with the train brake, but this is not invariably so. Some lines are practically all equipped with the air brake while they have made little progress with the coupler, this being due to the fact that their roads embrace such gradients that they have found it necessary to use the train brake without any reference to the law. Taking the roads in the whole country together, roughly speaking, there will be January 1 something over 60 per cent of the freight cars owned by railroad companies and used in interstate commerce equipped with the automatic coupler, and something over 40 per cent equipped with the train brake.
A full hearing was had upon these petitions on December 1 and days following. The carriers were very generally represented at this hearing and made whatever statements and arguments they desired. Various labor organizations were also represented, particularly those embracing trainmen and other railway employees, for whose benefit the law was largely enacted, and these representatives fully presented their views as to what should be done under the circumstances. Certain testimony was also taken under oath.
The length of extension asked for varied from one to five years, by far the greater number asking for the longer period. The reasons assigned were somewhat different, but in almost every case they had reference to the financial condition of the carrier. The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, operating 1,646 miles of road, had gross earnings for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1893, of $9,303,246, and for the year ending June 30, 1894, $6,461,643, a falling off of more than 30 per cent. The decrease in net earnings was in the same ratio, and the operations of that road since have shown no substantial improvement. This, of course, is an extreme case, but it illustrates what, in a measure, was true with all railroad companies in the United States. Road after road which was thought to be perfectly solvent when this law was enacted went into the hands of receivers within the next twelve months. The net revenues of all the railroads in the United States fell off more than $50,000,000 between the year ending June 30, 1893, and that ending June 30, 1894.
Without considering the other excuses urged in various instances, and without considering this excuse as applied to individual cases, the Commission was satisfied that the widespread financial depression which immediately followed the enactment of this law justified an extension of time. If for any reason a single company had lost a considerable part of its net revenue, owing to some unforeseen and unexpected disaster for the five years following the enactment of the law, it can hardly be doubted that that company would bave been entitled to some relief within the contemplation of the law, and in the same way the general condition of affairs justified the granting of some more general relief.
Some companies had fully complied with the law, while other companies had made no serious effort to do so. There were a few instances in which companies had done substantially nothing toward compliance, although they had regularly paid dividends since its enactment. Such carriers do not apparently deserve the same consideration as does one that has done everything that could be reasonably required. An examination of the act leads to the conclusion that it was originally intended that relief might be granted in some instances and not in others, and that, perhaps, no general relief should be given at all, but the situation as a whole seemed to render any such application of the law at the present time impossible.
The first section prohibits a carrier from hauling a train in interstate traffic which is not controlled by train brakes. The second section provides that no carrier shall haul or permit to be hauled on its lines any car used in interstate traffic which is not equipped with the automatic coupler. The requirement, therefore, is not that a carrier shall equip its cars with the brake or the coupler, but that it shall not use in interstate traffic a train which is not controlled by the train brake or haul in interstate traffic a car not eqipped with the automatic coupler. Now carriers do not use upon their lines their own cars altogether in the moving of interstate traffic. It appeared from the statements upon this hearing that from 40 to 65 per cent of the car mileage in such traffic was by foreign cars which came to the various roads in the interchange of business. To refuse to extend the time to a particular carrier was, therefore, to forbid that carrier to haul either its own or any other car not properly equipped. The road which had fully equipped, so far as its own equipment went, required an extension of time just as much as its connecting road, which had, perhaps, made no substantial progress in its equipment. To have refused to extend the time at all would have been to withdraw entirely from the interstate commerce of the country about 40 per cent of the freight cars, which would have been at the present time a very serious inconvenience to the public itself. The Commission felt, therefore, that any extension which was made must be made to all petitioning carriers alike. It has been already said that most of the carriers asked a period of
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five years within which to complete their equipment, and they showed many reasons why they could so complete it in that time more economically than in a shorter time. The Commission thought, however, that this was not justified by the circumstances. There were many reasons why the task of equipment could not be begun immediately after the passage of this act. An examination of the returns of the different carriers shows that the greater part of the equipment has been put on within the last two years. The expense of equipping a car with the automatic coupler varies somewhat according to the work which must be expended in applying it to a particular car, apparently running from $18 to $35 per car. The Commission was satisfied that the greater part of the carriers could easily equip the balance of their freight cars within the next two years with the automatic coupler, and that there would be no undue hardship in requiring them to do so. There are undoubtedly cases where the carrier has made no substantial progress up to the present time in which it will be difficult to complete the equipment within that time, and there may be instances in which it can not be so completed, but those will be for the most part cases in which the carrier has not done up to the present time what it ought, and that carrier ought to suffer in the future some inconvenience for its dereliction in the past.
The first section of the act only requires that a sufficient number of cars shall be equipped with train brakes in each train so that the train may be controlled from the engine. The testimony showed that this varied in different localities and upon different lines from 20 per cent to practically the entire number. It seemed to be the opinion of the carriers that from 50 to 60 per cent of all freight cars ought to be so equipped, in order that in the ordinary course of business the law might be complied with. It is undoubtedly true that finally every freight car will be so equipped. It seemed probable that many companies might even at the present time bring themselves within that provision of the law, and it appeared that many carriers were practically operating their trains in that way now; but it seemed to the Commission, on the whole, that the same extension ought to be made in this case as in the case of the automatic coupler. We accordingly granted to all petitioning carriers an extension of two years with respect to both the first and second sections.
The whole number of train men employed during the year ending June 30, 1896, was 162,873. Of that number 1,073 were killed and 15,936 injured. Of these, again, 157 were killed and 6,457 injured in coupling and uncoupling cars, while 373 were killed and 3,115 injured by falling from trains and engines. Of other railroad employees, 72 were killed and 2,000 injured in coupling and uncoupling cars, and 99 killed and 783 injured by falling from trains and engines.
These figures appealed strongly to us against any undue extension. It was urged that when all carriers were within the law such casualties would, in the main, cease. However this may be, the law was undoubt