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Recently a number of petitions have been filed for changes in existing overhead or undergrade crossings. These crossings for the most part were constructed prior to the use of automobiles and on account of right angle turns at the points of entrance, they were in reality more dangerous than the grade crossings of the railroads themselves might have been. Notable among these are the undercrossing of the Erie railroad at Cuba, and the Nine-mile bridge over-crossing of the New York Central railroad west of Schenectady. Orders for changes in both of these crossings are now in effect.
The construction of the Hudson River Connecting railroad south of Albany has necessitated the construction of seven new highways. Likewise the West Shore connection at Depew has called for the construction of four bridges whereby the elimination of crossings is made possible.
ELECTRIFICATION OF STEAM RAILROADS
The enactment of section 53-a of the Public Service Commission law (Laws of 1923, Chap. 901) provides that all railroads operating within cities having a population of one million inhabitants or over are required to operate all trains by electricity on and after January 1, 1926. The corporations affected were directed by the Commission to file plans and specifications for its approval.
The New York Central Railroad Company has filed plans covering the electrification of its railroad within New York City not already electrified, and has also filed with the Transit Commission. a set of plans for the elimination of all grade crossings on the west side of New York City. After a general examination of the petitions, it was apparent that if electrification is to be the motive power used by The New York Central Railroad Company on the west side of New York City, it would be absolutely necessary to establish an entirely new grade for that railroad. The subject of grade crossings within the City of New York is within the jurisdiction of the Transit Commission. It therefore developed that compliance with the legislative enactment regarding electrification of the railroad would necessitate action by the Transit Commission regarding grades before the road could be properly electrified. The Commissions decided to hold joint hearings. A number of hearings have already been held, during which the railroad company has submitted its case. The next hearing will be held on January 21, 1924, at which time the witnesses for the railroad will be crossexamined by counsel for the Commissions and also by the Corporation Counsel of New York City, who has appeared in the case. The questions before the two commissions will very properly be subjects for further communication to Your Honorable Body at the conclusion of the hearings now in progress.
ACCIDENTS FROM STEAM RAILROAD OPERATIONS
The following tables summarize the accidents which have resulted from the operation of steam railroads within the State for the annual period ended June 30, 1923 :
In these accidents 15 passengers lost their lives, the causes therefor being indicated by the following:
There has been a marked increase in the number of accidents, the largest proportion of which have occurred from causes in which the actual operation of the train is not directly involved. Whether this increase is due to increased traveling or greater carelessness on the part of the public and employes is not surely known. The increased injuries to employes may be due to the larger number employed, many of whom were new men not familiar with the railroads. Some may be accounted for by the large number of new employes taken into the service on account of the numerous strikes. Derailments occur in direct proportion to the number of trains operated, and although it should not be said that more derailments may be expected on account of the number of trains operated, it may nevertheless be a fact.
ELECTRIC RAILROAD PROPERTIES
The properties of all the electric railroads have been inspected during the year. These inspections include permanent way, equipment and structures. The physical condition of most of the properties has been found to be reasonably good. On several there has been a marked improvement in the standard of maintenance, while others still show the deferred maintenance and replacements which have been heretofore noted. All the properties are believed to be in safe operating condition.
It has been possible to give more attention during the past year to standards of service. In order to determine the quality of service which is being rendered, a number of detailed surveys have been made. As a result the Commission has been able to make recommendations whereby the service has been materially improved. This class of work which is of exceedingly great value to the public is limited by the force which is available for the work.
ELECTRIC RAILROAD OPERATING STATISTICS
Statistics of electric railroad operations are summarized in Table VI of Appendix "A" of this report. The tabulation covers all electric railroads outside of New York City. Operating revenues of electric railroads for the year 1922 show a decrease of approximately $1,000,000 below those for 1921 with an offsetting decrease in operating expenses of slightly more than $300,000, thus resulting in a small increase in the operating ratio. For the fifth consecutive year this group of companies has failed to have a gross income sufficient to meet fixed charges and for 1922 the deficit was approximately $5,500,000. Of the entire group only twelve companies. declared dividends in 1922, amounting to $1,770,977, and four of these operated lighting departments.
It is significant that the reduction in the number of passengers carried still continues. The number of passengers carried in 1922 was 599,080,364 as compared with 643,870,858 in 1921 and 743,233,247 in 1920, while the number of revenue car miles was 92,481,319 in 1922 as compared with 91,059,219 in 1921. One explanation of this situation is that the private use of automobiles has increased to such an extent that the operation of electric railroads is seriously affected. A further study of the operation of electric railroads shows that the heaviest travel is during the winter months when many automobiles are in storage until the coming of warmer weather.
STREET RAILWAY PASSENGER FARES
Statement showing passenger fares of electric railroads in effect in the various cities on December 31, 1922 and 1923.
Statement showing number of cities in which fares are charged:
On May 17th, the entire force of the Schenectady Railway Company ceased work and operation was suspended on the system for a period of three weeks. With the return of some former employes and the employment of other men, a new force was gradually organized so that on November 1st the company was operating on a pre-strike basis with approximately 80 per cent normal volume of traffic.
This was the only serious interruption of street railway service during the year.
WEEKLY PASSES ON ELECTRIC RAILROADS
An investigation was made of the "unlimited ride, transferable weekly pass "used on some electric railroads in different parts of the country. This form of fare is used in 30 cities and with few exceptions a noticeable increase in revenue followed its introduction. It would seem that if the price of the pass is fixed after competent analysis there should be no reason why its use would cause any difficulty. It is impossible to take more than two rush hour rides a day and it is good business to give to the twice-a-day rider a concession that really applies only to non-rush hour riding when vacant seats are usually available.
The "weekly pass" is now used in the village of Peekskill and in the cities of Olean and Salamanca. Besides being used in the cities, the Olean, Bradford and Salamanca Railway expects to extend its use to the interurban lines. The use of the weekly pass is now being considered in the cities of Rochester and Schenectady.
ACCIDENTS FROM ELECTRIC RAILROAD OPERATIONS
Under section 47 of the Public Service Commission law, this Commission has caused an investigation to be made when deemed necessary of all accidents on electric railroads subject to its juris