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ANNUAL REPORT OF THE RAILROAD COM
MISSION OF SOUTH CAROLINA.
To the General Assembly of South Carolina:
This, the thirty-seventh annual report of the Railroad Commission of South Carolina, is herewith respectfully submitted for your consideration.
PHYSICAL CONDITION OF RAILROADS.
The Commission, through its inspection, has kept informed as to the physical condition of the trunk lines and their branches, and we commend the railroads for the steady improvement of their roadbed and tracks. This has been accomplished particularly by the willing co-operation of the railroads to carry out the recommendations of the Commission in order to keep their line up to the standard of safety and insure, as far as possible, the lives and welfare of the traveling public. The physical condition of the railroads is better and nearer the standard of perfection than ever before in this State. This responsibility for safety is, in the minds of the Commission, the greatest under their care and supervision, and all diligent labor should be devoted to this branch of their duty. In spite of the financial depression of the past two years, the railroads have steadily kept up their maintenance of way with additional improvements.
Terminals and side track facilities have been very much enlarged and extended, which has very much facilitated the handling of trains and prevented congestion. This is particularly noticeable at the large junctional points. In addition, there has been constructed along the main line a number of pass tracks.
During the year 1915, 131 miles of new 80- and 85-pound rail have been put down on the main lines, replacing lighter rail; also 66 miles of relay rail, replacing lighter rail, have been put down on the branch lines.
Approximately 90,000 cubic feet of stone and gravel ballast have been put in, roadbed drainage has been greatly improved by placing of concrete and iron pipes in culverts or waterways, and the renewal of crossties has been up to the average. It ap
pears to be the policy of the larger lines to bring their roadbed improvements up to the highest and most modern standard.
The replacement of wooden passenger cars with modern up-todate steel-frame passenger cars is highly commendable, and greatly diminishes the danger in traveling. This policy pursued will eventually eliminate all wooden passenger cars and create a sense of safety and comfort to the traveling public. The Commission has ordered that all new equipment must be up to the standard, and that all passenger coaches must be equipped with toilets for women, as prescribed by the Act of the Legislature passed at session of 1912. Larger and better locomotives have been put into service and there has been quite an increase in freight equipment, which greatly facilitates the service in the transportation department
SCHEDULES AND TRAIN SERVICE.
During the depression in business during the past two years and the tremendous falling off, both in passenger and freight earnings of the railroads, the Commission, upon request of the railroads, after most careful consideration, granted permission to the railroads to discontinue certain local passenger trains and allow through passenger trains to perform this local work. In each instance, the Commission investigated the request upon its individual merits before granting the change. However, matters are becoming more normal again and conditions improving, and the Commission is gradually restoring the old or better schedules. The Commission has endeavored to obtain the best service, schedules and connections during the past depressed season. The Commission is of the opinion that local passenger service should not in any wise interfere with through passenger service. In this respect, it is hard to satisfy, in some cases, patrons of some of the trunk lines who insist that through trains should make numerous stops not included in their schedule. Consequently, if a through passenger train is ordered to make local stops it simply becomes a local train and entirely destroys the primary object of service and inconveniences through passengers in making connections for destination.
BRIDGES AND TRESTLES.
Order No. 156, issued March 6th, 1911, eliminating as far as possible all wooden trestles and replacing same with up-to-date substantial structures of best material, has been liberally obeyed by the railroads since the order was made. These structures built by the railroads under Order No. 156 are either steel bridges and concrete abutment, or ballast-decked creosoted trestles of best type. In most cases of small trestles, these have been mostly filled with dirt and at present there are comparatively few wooden trestles left on the trunk lines. The above style of trestle or bridge are steel, safe and of long life, thereby insuring comparative safety. The expenditure on the part of the railroads has been very heavy, and we believe that within the six-year limit of the order most of the wooden trestles will have been eliminated and replaced by the best style of substantial structures, making a permanent and great improvement to the roadbed. The total cost from the issuance of this order up to June 30th, 1915, is shown in the following summary: Filling trestles
$219.278 30 Ballasted deck trestles
343,919 10 Steel bridges and viaducts (including filling approaches)
DEPOTS AND OTHER BUILDINGS.
During the year depots and other buildings at the following places were constructed, extensively repaired or are under construction:
SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY.
Spartanburg—Passenger depot being enlarged and extensive improvements made.
ATLANTIC COAST LINE RAILROAD COMPANY.
Myrtle Beach-Depot enlarged.
Darlington-Umbrella sheds and concrete walk to passenger depot.
Bells Crossing-Passenger booth erected.
SEABOARD AIR LINE RAILWAY COMPANY.
North-New combination depot erected.
On the trunk lines, many improvements have been made to station facilities, such as the extension and covering of platforms, and modern sanitary toilets placed in passenger depots.