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vice is demanded which if granted would bankrupt the roads, or would mean the dismantling and removing of same. In each of these instances the Commission has proceeded in a way that would be fair and reasonable to all parties at interest, especially keeping in mind that the loss of a railroad to a community affects the citizens thereof equally as much, and in many instances more, than the company itself would be affected; and to operate trains over any line of railroad when there is not sufficient traffic to warrant such operation, means that eventually the property will be liquidated and the road will be forced into the position of being unable to function at all. Instead of discontinuing railroads in South Carolina, the Commission hopes that conditions will be such as to encourage the additional construction of railroads as there are many places in the State where the construction of additional railroads would most assuredly aid in developing communities that are now far from what they should be.
During this year the Commission has experienced a great deal of trouble in securing the prompt movement of freight. This to a great extent was due, not to the carriers operating in this State, but to embargoes placed on many commodities to be delivered to roads outside of the State, which on account of such embargoes were unable to accept freight from the carriers in this State. This necessarily forced the carriers to place embargoes inside of the State. We are pleased to report, however, that at this writing those matters have all been practically clarified and freight is now moving as rapidly as possible and the service is almost as good as it was prior to the war. We desire to say that patrons of the railroads in South Carolina have been very responsive to the request of the Commission to promptly load and unload equipment, thus adding to same, which when a normal amount of traffic is moving always shows a shortage. The trunk line railroads have placed orders for a large number of box and open-top cars, motive power and passenger coaches. The short. line railroads have not done this for the very good reason that they have not the funds with which to purchase such equipment.
PHYSICAL CONDITION OF RAILROADS. Since our last report to your honorable body this class of railroad maintenance is one which possibly carries as much responsibility or more than any other coming under the jurisdiction of the Commission. Upon the proper maintenance of the physical
condition of the roadbed and equipment of the railroads depends the safety of human life and the prompt moving of traffic necessary to the welfare and prosperity of the people of South Carolina. As was outlined in our last annual report, during Federal control unfortunately conditions existed which made it impossible to maintain the roadbeds up to the standard; therefore, in order to protect human life, the Commission necessarily had to slow down all trains moving over same. We are pleased to report, however, that for the past six months great improvement has been made to the roadbed and equipment, so much so that the Commission, as well as the carriers, feel safe in shortening a number of schedules that have been in use in South Carolina for the past two years. Just as fast as the roadbeds are brought up to the standard schedules will again be brought up to such point as the Commission thinks is safe for those using trains. However, the Commission has given due consideration to this specific part of transportation and in some instances does not feel that it is yet time to greatly increase the speed of passenger trains, but the public can rest assured that the Commission will not increase any schedule at the hazard of human life, or at the cost of loss of property which in the end must be borne by the public. The Commission's judgment along this line has evidently been clearly vindicated by the small loss of life and property due to railroad wrecks in this State. While quite a number of slight derailments, due in most instances to equipment moving interstate, have occurred, still the loss of life due to wrecks during 1920 has been the lowest of any year on record. The Commission appreciates this state of affairs and trusts that it will continue, all of which we feel the public generally will share with the Commission and the carriers.
As heretofore stated, rolling stock is being improved very rapidly and during the year 1921 the Commission feels that if the traffic improves (which we are satisfied it will do) all rolling stock will be again up to the standard, and that all new equipment purchased for passenger trains by trunk line railroads will be of the latest type steel coaches, which render protection to the public that it would not otherwise have.
SCHEDULES AND TRAIN SERVICE.
This is one of the most difficult problems that the Commission faces when it has to consider the requests of all parties concerned. On account of the lack of traffic which exists at present it has been absolutely necessary to discontinue certain train service in South Carolina, as to require the continuance of service when there is no traffic to be handled, either passenger or freight, means finally the discontinuance of all service. The Commission is fully alive to the necessities and at all times keeps itself in position to know what traffic is moving and can and does add service as required. The proposition of making satisfactory schedules for all parties served is next to impossible. Long runs leave the terminal too early to suit some of the traveling public and reach the opposite terminal too late to suit those living near that terminal. The very best that can be done is to work out schedules that will serve the greatest number, giving due consideration to making junctional point connections, which is almost next to impossible to be done in certain instances. Where short line railroads cross several trunk line railroads over which interstate trains operate, the Commission finds that in some instances it is impossible to have a train at one junctional point and be able to reach the next junctional point on another trunk line at one and the same time. However, we are pleased to state for your information that very few cases of this kind exist in South Carolina at present, and we are informed that South Carolina trains make more junctional point connections in proportion to the number of such points than possibly in 'adjoining States. The public may rest assured at all times the Commission will put in and maintain such schedules as will render the greatest service to the greatest number of people patronizing such service.
BRIDGES AND TRESTLES.
Continued improvement is shown in this specific branch of railroading in South Carolina. Few trestles are built at this time other than up-to-date creosoted-timber, ballast-deck trestles. This type of trestle is the latest known to modern railroading in structures of this kind, and has many advantages over the old open-deck trestle. The track has the same advantage on trestles of this kind that it has on natural soil where the surface can be kept uniform and the alignment as perfect as at any point on the road, which is next to impossible on the old style structures. All bridges being constructed in this State at this time are of steel, and of course are as safe as any structure can be at present. Few trestles remain on the railroads where filling with earth is practicable, and what few still remain will be filled possibly during 1921.
DEPOTS AND OTHER BUILDINGS.
These facilities coming under the jurisdiction of the Commission have only been under their control since September 1st, when the Federal Government relinquished its authority over the finances of the different roads. Many petitions were filed with the Commission during Federal control of the utilities for additional station facilities at many places in South Carolina. These have all been handled and the following buildings constructed or improved :
ATLANTIC Coast LINE RAILROAD.
Newtonville, S. C.-Combination depot erected.
SEABOARD AIR LINE RAILWAY.
Vincent, S. C.-Freight shed erected.
Numbers of others have been agreed upon, in most cases blue prints have been filed with the Commission and material is being assembled for these structures. The Commission expects during the year 1921, if financial conditions will permit, that practically all the demands filed during Federal control for facilities of this kind will be complied with. We desire to state to the public, through your honorable body, that the Commission is fully aware of facilities needed and will use every effort within its power to see that they are constructed as rapidly as is possible.
GRADE CROSSINGS. As is known to almost every individual in this State this class of facilities carries a greater hazard than possibly all others connected with railroads. The Commission has been diligent in its efforts to have removed, and has had removed, a great number of grade crossings in South Carolina since September 1st. number of overhead bridges have recently been constructed, as well as several underpasses, which has permitted the Commission to condemn and eliminate a great number of dangerous grade crossings without inconvenience to the traveling public. Much more of this class of construction is necessary and is being built while this report is being prepared for your honorable body, and before it reaches you several overhead bridges will be completed and in use.
This is a part of the Commission's work upon which it lays special stress, and through the aid granted by the passage of certain laws at the last session of the General Assembly the Commission has been and will be able to obtain more results for the people of the State than was possible prior to the passage of such laws. That there is always danger at grade crossings, regardless of how located, cannot be questioned. However, it is the policy of the Commission to remove first the most dangerous of these and as rapidly as possible eliminate every grade crossing where this can be done. More than one hundred of such crossings have been eliminated, or are in course of elimination, since our last report to the General Assembly. An overhead bridge has just been completed over the track of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad near Charleston, which has eliminated four dangerous grade crossings. Just as soon as material can be obtained an overhead bridge will be built in Greenwood County which will eliminate five grade crossings. Several bridges have been built in Union County and many relocations of crossings have been made that have resulted in the elimination of two or more other crossings for each change made. The Commission finds that where it is impracticable for the crossing to be made overhead or underneath the railroad, often the relocation of such crossing improves conditions and is satisfactory to all parties interested and less hazardous.
The Commission is pleased to report that the number of accidents in South Carolina for 1920 has been very much below the average. During this year four passengers were killed, one hundred and twenty-nine passengers were more or less injured, and seventeen railroad employees were killed, while accidents to tres