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moving traffic upon it is so very greatly below the States, it has operated directly to increase the cost of rail transportation that the railroads railroad earnings, especially in the cutting oif would scarcely be able to compete at all if ra of free passes on interstate passenger traffic, pidity of transit were not in most cases a mat- and in putting an end to rebates, drawbacks, ter of such importance that it enables the rail- and special rates upon freight business. The roads to demand and obtain higher rates than results of the Law in these respects are also are made by boat. But even when compensat- eminently satisfactory to the general public, ed for the extra speed, the rates which the certainly to all who had not been wont to roads can obtain in competition with the natu- profit by special or personal advantages. In ral water ways must be extremely low and in connection with the abolition of the pass sys. some cases leave little if any margin for profit. tem, there has been some reduction in passenThe experience of the country has demonstrat- ger fares, especially in the charge made for ed that the artificial water ways cannot be milage tickets in the Northwest, the section of successful competitors with the railroads on the country where they are perbaps most em. equal terms. If the effort is to make the busi- ployed. ness upon them pay the cost of their mainte- Freight traffic for the year has been excepnance and a fair return upon the capital in. tionally large in volume, and is believed to vested in them, its futility must soon appear. have been in no small degree stimulated by a The railroads long since deprived the great growing confidence that the days of rebates canals of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois of nearly and special rates were ended, and that open all their importance, and the Erie Canal is only rates on an equal basis were now offered to all maintained as a great channel of trade by the comers. The reflex action of this developliberality of the State of New York in making ment of confidence among business men has its use free; in this way taking upon itself a been highly favorable to the roads. large share of the cost of transportation which In some localities the passage of the Act was would be assessed upon the property carried made the occasion on the part of dissatisfied if the canal were owned and held for the profit and short sighted railroad managers for new of operation as the railroads are.
exactions, through a direct raising of rates, by In their competitive struggles with each change in classification and otherwise. The other towns can not ignore the effect which manifestation
of the spirit which induced such the existence of natural water ways must have action is now but seldom observed, and the upon railroad tariffs; the railroad companies wrongs resulting from it have in general been cannot ignore it, nor can the Commission ig- corrected. The effect of the operation of the nore it if competition is still to exist and be al fourth section has been specially described lowed its force according to natural laws. above, and the Commission repeats in this Neither can the great free Erie Canal be ig. place its opinion that, however serious may nored; it influences the rates to New York have been the results in some cases, the gen. more than any other one cause, and indirectly, eral effect has been beneficial. The changes through its influence upon the rates to New in classification made since the Act took effect York, it influences those to all other seaboard have been in the direction of greater uniformcities, and indeed to all that section of the ity, and have also in general, it is believed, country.
been concessions to business interests, Other considerations bearing upon the rea- The tendency of rates has been downward, sonableness of rates might be mentioned, but and they have seldom been permanently adenough has been said to show the difficulty of vanced except when excessive competition had the task which the Law has cast upon the Com- reduced them to points at which they could mission, and the impossibility that that task not well be maintained. No destructive rate shall be so performed as to give satisfaction to wars have occurred, but increased stability in all complaints. The question of rates, as bas rates has tended in the direction of stability in already been shown, is often quite as much a general business. There is still, however, question between rival interests and localities great mischief resulting from frequent changes as between the railroads and any one or more in freight rates on the part of some companies; of such localities or interests; but while each changes that in some cases it is difficult to sug. strives to secure such rates as will most benefit gest excuse for. itself, the Commission must look beyond the The general results of the Law have been in parties complaining and complained of, and important ways favorable to both the roads make its decisions on a survey of the whole and the public; wbile the comparatively few field that, either directly or indirectly, will be complaints that have been heard of its results affected by them.
are either made with imperfect knowledge of
the facts, or spring from the remembrance of XII. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS.
practices which the Law was deliberately The Act to Regulate Commerce has now framed to put an end to. been in operation nearly eight months. One immediate effect was to cause inconvenience in
XIII. AMENDMENTS OF THE LAW. many quarters, and even get the business of The Commission bas not seen occasion for some parts of the country is not fully adjusted recommending any very considerable changes to it. Some carriers also are not as yet in in the Act under which its work is performed.. their operations conforming in all respects to its It has seemed to its members that the Law for spirit and purpose. Nevertheless the Commis. the regulation of interstate commerce should sion feels justified in saying that the operation be permitted to have a growth, and that it of the Act has in general been beneficial. In would most surely as well as most safely attain some particulars, as we understand has also a high degree of efficiency and usefulness in been the case with similar statutes in some of that way. The general features of the Act
are grounded in principles that will stand the J. W. SLAPPEY and G. R. Slappey, compostest of time and experience, and only time and ing firm of “Cider & Vinegar Co.," Marexperience can determine whether all the pro- shallville, Ga., visions made for their enforcement are safe, sound, and workable. When they prove not CENTRAL R. R. CO. OF GEORGIA; Brunsto be, experience will be a safe guide in legis- wick & Western R. R. of Georgia; Salation to protect them.
vannah, Florida & Western R. R. Co., and Incidentally in this report some need of South Florida R. R. Co. amendment has been pointed out. Especially
(No. 104.) ought the Law, as we think, to indicate in plain terms whether the express business and ABSTRACT of complaint filed December in the Act shall be governed by its provisions. Petitioners ship from Marshallville, Georgia, The provision against the sudden raising of to Tampa, Florida, 527 miles, and are charged rates ought to be clearly made applicable to $1 per 100 pounds by the Central R. R. Co. of joint rates as well as to others. The Commis Georgia, which connects with the other roads. sion ought also to have the authority and the Rates are made with the first named defendmeans to bring about something like uniform ant. The rate of defendants from Macon, ity in the method of publishing rates, which Georgia, to Tampa, a distance of 564 miles, is is now in great confusion, and to carefully ex. only fifty-two cents. This constitutes unjust amine, collect, and supervise the schedules, discrimination against complainants. contracts, etc., required by the Law to be filed, as well as properly to handle the mass of statistical information called for by the twentieth
R. T. KNOWLES section. For all these purposes, as well as for others imperfectly provided for, a considera
OHIO & MISSISSIPPI R. R. CO. ble addition to the force employed with the
(No. 105.) Commission will be indispensable.
Other matters, and particularly whether ABSTRACT 1f complaint filed December to the Act, are submitted to the wisdom of Complainant is a manufacturer of cooperCongress without recommendation.
age at Dillsboro, Indiana, and ships by de. Ali which is respectfully submitted. fendant's line to Cincinnati, thirty-three miles. Dated December 1, 1887.
Prior to the passage of the Law defendant THOMAS M. COOLEY,
charged $10 per car. After May 26, 1887, deWILLIAM R. MORRISON,
fendant charged complainant $16.80 per car, AUGUSTUS SCHOONMAKER, Afterwards defendant charged $15 per car, ALDACE F. WALKER,
which they now charge. WALTER L. BRAGG,
These charges are unjust and onerous, and Interstate Commerce Commissioners. contrary to the Interstate Commerce Law.
Prays for investigation and reparation INTER S.
Ro EXPRESS COMPANIES.
carried and delivered by them at the usual Express business, when conducted by a ulation is expressed or understood upon all
rate of charge for such service.” Such a stiprailroad company, is within the provis
the lines. ions of the Interstate Commerce Act; but
It is claimed as a reason for the surrender independent express companies are not subject to the Act, not being in- of this business by the railroads to the express cluded among the common carriers de companies that the rapidity and certainty reclared to be subject to the provisions of quired in this service can best be secured by a
of the Act as they now stand.
special organization, largely composed
trained servants, whose attention is given ex(Heard Oct. 25.-Decided Dec. 28, 1887.) clusively to the handling of this class of traf
fic, and that the present satisfactory results N notice from the Commission to the various could not be attained by undertaking to carry not comply with the provisions of the Inter- railroad companies. This is, no doubt, in a state Commerce Act.
great measure true. Nevertheless it has been Arguments of counsel on behalf of the ex- found practicable on some important lines to press companies are given ante, 448–462.
organize an express service as a department
of the traffic of the company. And it should OPINION OF THE COMMISSION.
be further remarked that the practice of turnWALKER, Commissioner:
ing over a branch of the carrier's business to a A considerable part of the movement of third party by contract is susceptible of indefifreight from one State or Territory to another, vite extension. throughout the United States, is carried on by Contracts are made with the railroad com. 80-called “Express Companies.” Originally pany to furnish space upon fast trains for the suggested, as it seems, by the employment of express business, which may be paid for by messengers to carry bank exchanges of money the year, by the space occupied, by the weight and securities, the system has developed into carried, or according to an agreed division of a very general method of transporting all prop. the gross receipts, or of the profits. The erty of special value or of perishable nature, or method of ascertaining the compensation to when speed in transit is for any reason desired. be paid for the carriage of the messengers and It is pursued upon substantially all the lines of freight varies greatly in different portions of railroad in the country, as well as upon steam the country. Perhaps the most usual contract boat lines, stage coaches, and other vehicles of is one which pays to the railroad company 40 carriage. The charges collected for such per cent of the gross receipts of the express transportation are relatively high, as compared company. with the ordinary freight business of railroad A messenger usually accompanies the exand steamboat companies, but the service is press freight in transit, who is not in the emrapid and accurate. The existence of express ploy of the railroad companies, and the busi. companies and the facilities which they furness of receiving and delivering the goods and pish have developed to immense proportions a property transported is managed by employees business adapted to the requirements of such of the express companies, who are generally traffic. Railroad companies prefer that freight entirely distinct from the agents of the rail. in small parcels and of the nature in other re- road lines, although at the smaller stations the spects considered appropriate to the express same person is often employed by both. So business, especially when quick transit is essen- far as the public is concerned, this business is tial, should be handled by those agencies. wholly done by the express companies, the The public is no doubt better served by them shipper and receiver of the property having no in some respects than it would be by the ordi. contract relation with the corporation or per. nary methods of railroad transportation. For son owning the railroad or other system of various reasons, therefore, the custom of send transportation employed, but dealing exclu. ing all such business “by express” has become sively with the express company operating on a matter of course, and the methods of its the route desired, to which alone he looks in transportation have been highly systematized. case of loss or damage. The express company In fact, although as to some articles the ship itself thus becomes a common carrier, employ. per has a choice whether they shall be sent asing instrumentalities of commerce, in part its express matter or as freight, there are many own and in part hired from other carriers and which the railroad companies seem to regard having the responsibilities, duties, liabilities, as more appropriate for transportation by the rights, and liens of a common carrier in its reexpress companies, and relinquish wholly to lations with the public. Its position in this them.
respect has been judicially ascertained, is well The contract on file in this office, between a understood throughout the country, and is not leading railroad company and the express seriously in dispute. company which handles its parcel traffic, con- The companies engaged in this peculiar tains the following clause: "All matter seek method of conducting interstate traffic are ing transportation by passenger trains shall be known by the following names: considered and treated as express matter (ex- Adams Express Company, American Except the personal baggage of passengers on the press Company, Baltimore & Ohio Express train, and milk, and excepting such matter as Company (Recently acquired by the United the railroad company, through its representa. States Express Co.), Canadian Express Comtives, shall elect to carry free of charge); with pany, Dominion Express Company, Erie Railthese exceptions, all such matter shall be road Express, National Express Company, turned over to the express company and be Northern Pacific Express Company, New York & Boston Dispatch Express Company, Pacific be divided among several companies there Express Company, Southern Express Com. might be occasions when the public would pany, United States Express Company, Wells, be put to inconvenience by delays which Fargo & Company.
would otherwise be avoided. So long as the Each of these companies operates a certain public are served to their reasonable satisfacterritory as its own, the entire country having tion, it is a matter of no importance who serves been definitely subdivided among them by them. The railroad company performs its agreement or by chance. The right of rail. whole duty to the public at large and to each road companies to make an exclusive contract individual when it affords the public all reawith a selected express company for the band sonable express accommodations. If this is ling of all the express business upon its line done the railroad company owes no duty to has recently been established by the Supreme the public as to the particular agencies it shall Court of the United States. The language select for that purpose. The public require used is as follows:
the carriage, but the company may choose its “The reason is obvious why special con- own appropriate means of carriage, always tracts in reference to this business are necessa provided they are such as to insure reasonable ry. The transportation required is of a kind promptness and security.”, [Express Cases, which must, if possible, be bad for the most 117 U. S. 23 (29 L. ed. 801).] part on passenger trains. It requires not only The express business is, therefore, very largespeed, but reasonable certainty as to the quan ly noncompetitive. Cases exist where two or tity that will be carried at any one time. As more railroad or steamboat lines, over which the things carried are to be kept in the person different express companies have contracts, al custody of the messenger or other employee reach the same terminal or junction points; but, of the express company, it is important that a so far as the public are aware, there has been certain amount of car space should be spe- little difficulty in establishing and maintaining cially set apart for the business, and that this agreed rates in such instances. Rate wars or should, as far as practicable, be put in the ex- even the existence of any active competition clusive possession of the expressman in charge. among express companies have seldom, if ever, As the business to be done is 'express,' it im- been heard of. Interchange of traffic between plies access to the train for loading at the the different companies at points of junction latest and for unloading at the earliest con is carried on without friction, usually upon venient moment. All this is entirely incon the simple theory that the public in such cases sistent with the idea of an express business on must pay the charges of two companies in: passenger trains frce to all express carriers. stead of one. Railroad companies are by law carriers of both Their methods of organization are very di. persons and property. Passenger trains have verse. Some, like the Southern Express Comfrom the beginning been provided for the pany and Wells, Fargo & Company, are cortransportation primarily of passengers and porations, holding charters from State Legistheir baggage. This must be done with rea | latures which authorize them to carry on the sonable promptness and with reasonable com express business by name; others, like the fort to the passenger. The express business American Express Company and the National on passenger trains is in a degree subordinate Express Company, are not corporations, but to the passenger business, and it is consequent quasi partnerships, with additional powers rec. ly the duty of a railroad company in arranging ognized by legislation in the State of New for the express to see that there is as little in York, where more than seven persons are terference as possible with the wants of pas- united; being called joint stock companies, hav. sengers. This implies a special understanding ing transferable shares of stock, with such perand agreement as to the amount of car space petuity of organization as the articles of the that will be afforded, and the conditions on association provide, and the right of suing and which it is to be occupied, the particular trains being sued in the name of the president or that can be used, the places at which they treasurer: but the shareholders being, nevershall stop, the price to be paid, and all the va theless, liable, as partners, among themselves rying details of a business which is to be ad- and to the public. There is nothing in the nat. justed between two public servants, so that ure of the express business which prevents its each can perform in the best manner its own being carried on by an ordinary partnership particular duties. All this must necessarily or even by an individual, provided the necesbe a matter of bargain, and it by no means foi sary contracts can be obtained with transportalows that because a railroad company can tion lines. Others are practically branches or serve one express company in one way it can bureaus of the railroad companies themselves, as well serve another company in the same way acting under a distinct head and through sepaand still perform its other obligations to the rate organizations, but the profits of the busi. public in a satisfactory manner. The car ness accruing to the railroad treasury. Others space that can be given to the express business still are combinations of roads, organized in ad on a passenger train is, to a certain extent, aggregate form, for the purpose of transacting limited, and, as has been seen, that which is the express business of their several lines. allotted to a particular carrier must be, in a Soon after the organization of this Commis measure, under his exclusive control. No ex-sion a letter was received from the Canadiar press "company can do a successful business Express Company as follows: unless it is at all times reasonably sure of the
“Canadian Express Company, means it requires for transportation. On im
General Superintendent's Office, portant lines one company will at times fill
Montreal, April 1, 1887. all the space the railroad company can well | To the Hon. the Chairman of the allow for the business. If this space had to Interstate Commerce Committee,