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As to freight rates on intrastate business, we have in many instances, corrected existing inequalities, and wherever the rate prevailing appeared excessive, the proper reduction was promptly made.
The Commission, after investigation and hearings, issued, since June 30, 1906, forty orders. All such orders have been either complied with or will be carried out, as we have reason to suppose. Much tardiness on the part of the corporations, to which these orders have been directed, has been experienced. Possibly some of the delays in carrying out certain orders of the Commission are excusable, but in many instances no satisfactory reason has been assigned. At this time the only means given the Commission by law to compel obedience to its orders, rules and regulations, are through the courts. This entails litigation, which ordinarily involves delay and cost. Therefore, the Commission has preferred at all times to accomplish its objects, when possible, without application to the courts.
The Commission, since June 30, 1906, and up to January 1, 1908, received and acted upon over 1,000 complaints and petitions, relating to various matters connected with transportation.
We report 87 deaths to persons in this State from railway accidents between June 30, 1906, and June 30, 1907, 35 of whom were railway employees. During the corresponding period covered by our last report there were in South Carolina 198 deaths from railway accidents; 32 of this number were railway employees.
The total value of railway property reported as destroyed or damaged by railway accidents in South Carolina from June 30, 1906, to September 1, 1907, was $283,712.90.
We have personally inspected, from time to time during the last year, about all the railway lines in this State, and ordered such repairs or additions as were deemed actually necessary to the safety and convenience of the public. Detailed reports of these inspections are on file in the office of this Commission.
With few exceptions the roadbeds of all railways in South Carolina have been very much neglected. Good rail on a defective roadbed cannot be utilized to much advantage. In order to secure a sub; stantial foundation for timber and track, the importance of proper drainage along the roads can scarcely be overestimated. The Commission is insisting upon the railway companies protecting their lines with the necessary ditches and ballast.
During the past year ending June 30, 1907, 59,900,280 pounds of new rail has been laid or distributed over the various railroads in this State.
In the matter of relaying track, we take pleasure in submitting the following letter from C. H. Ackert, General Manager of the Southern Railway Company, received by the Commission in response to its inquiries:
"Washington, D. C., October 26, 1907. a--1 "Hon. B. L. Caughman, Chairman, Hon. John H. Earle, Hon. J. M.
Sullivan, Commissioners, Columbia, South Carolina. “Gentlemen : I have your letter of October 23rd in regard to rail on our various lines in South Carolina, in which communication we are cited to appear before you on November 5th; and in reply will say I will be glad to have our company represented, but I would like to make the following statement to see if you will then still feel that a meeting will be necessary:
"Out of our present contracts, sufficient rail has been assigned to the lines in South Carolina to take out all rail of less than 60-1b. sections.
“The line between Alston and Greenville, when changed, will consist of 60 and 75-1b. rail.
"The line between Columbia and Spartanburg will be of 75-1b. rail.
"The line between Charlotte and Augusta will be for the greater part 75 and 80-lb. rail, and nothing less than 60-1b. 1
The Charleston Division will be of 60, 70 and 75-lb. rail, “We made contract in April, 1906, for 60,000 tons of rail to be delivered at the rate of 5,000 tons per month, beginning January, 1907. Up to date we have received only 14,000 tons, when we should have received 50,000 tons. Of the 14,000 tons received, we have sent the lines in South Carolina 6,701 tons, or nearly one-half of the total rail received. In addition to the above, we have sent the South Carolina lines 3,519 tons received from the Carnegie Steel Company in February and March, 1907, or a total of 10,000 tons of rail have been sent to the South Carolina lines during the present year; and I am in hopes that you will agree with me that we have tried to comply with your order. It is always our desire to meet your wishes, as far as it is possible, but if we are unable to secure rail from the mills with which we have contracted, you, of course, appreciate how impossible it is for us to do what we want to do.
“C. H. ACKERT, “Vice-President and General Manager."
INCOME ACCOUNTS OF STEAM RAILWAYS.
From the exhibit of earnings from all sources and general expense account for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1907, in comparison with the figures for 1906, we submit the following:
June 30th. Total earnings, all sources..
.$17,267,534.41 Total expenses maintenance ways and
structures, maintenance of equipment
and transportation--general expenses 13,647,655.25 Total income less fixed charges.. 3,619,879.16 Taxes..
523,817.96 Income, less expenses and taxes.. 3,096,061.20 Tonnage..
14,712,839 Railroads with deficits : Seivern & Knoxville..
10,098.51 Bennettsville & Cheraw..
7,618.68 Carolina & Western.. Conway Coast & Western..
2,339.64 Glenn Springs R. R...
365.53 Increase in gross earnings 1907 over 1906..
764,269.52 Decrease in net earnings 1907 over 1906..
1,173,044.84 Increase in tonnage 1907 over 1906.... 5,046,130 Average gross earnings on 3,208.21 miles, per mile, $5,382.20 net, less expenses, per mile, 1,247.02.
The above exhibit shows an increase in total earnings, all sources, for year ending June 30, 1907, of $764,269.52, while the net earnings show a decided decrease of $1,173,044.84. There are five railroads with deficits amounting to $21,337.48. The total tonnage shows an increase of 5,046,130 tons.
ASSESSMENT OF RAILROAD PROPERTY.
It is no part of the duty of the Railroad Commission to assess railroad or any other property for taxation. The Chairman of the Commission is ex-officio a member of the State Board empowered to assess railroad property. As a matter of general interest we submit the following table showing assessment of railroads in South Carolina per mile, 1907:
RAILROAD ASSESSMENT PER MILE.
The following shows the assessment of the railroad property of the value per mile, as fixed by the Board of Railroad Assessors and Board of Equalization as shown by the Comptroller-General's books according to townships for year ending June 30th, 1907:
Value A. C. L. System :
Miles. Per Mile. Ashley River Railway..
$20,592 Central of S. C....
13,640 Charleston and Savannah..
24,024 Charleston and Savannah, Sea Island branch..
5.70 8,525 Charleston and Savannah, Sea Island Spur..
0,571 Charleston and Western Carolina ..
15,500 Cheraw and Darlington..
39.52 11,935 Cheraw and Darlington, Gibson branch...
13,640 Cheraw and Darlington, Salisbury branch II.10
24.63 27,456 Florence, Latta branch..
8,525 Green Pond and Walterboro branch..
4,323 Manchester and Augusta..
17,160 Manchester and Augusta, Darlington branch.
Southern Railway :
Atlanta and Charlotte Air Line..