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SUMMARY OF BUSINESS FOR THE YEAR. The totals for all roads and the details for each are given with great particularity in the second volume of this report.

A few of the grand totals and most important final results are given here as follows:


1985. Gross earnings from operation of road

$125, 160, 289 48 $111, 632, 961 47 Operating expenses...

79, 280,798 30 77, 175, 826 01 Vet earnings from operation of road

45,899, 491 18 31, 457, 135 46. Income from other sources than operation of road.

4,449, 391 66 6,244, 808 50 *Interest paid and accrued.

25, 673, 372 99 24, 614,451 92 Taxes...

4,645, 676 93 4,874, 334 55 *Dividends declared.

11, 178, 176 67 10, 455, 865 84 Surplus.

Deficit. Surplus or deficit....

4,658, 191 48 3,502, 337 71 +Stock and debt

1, 224,772, 611 291, 292,395, 622 14 Cost of road and equipment..

1, 138, 370, 470 55 1,175, 918, 966 05 Percentage of gross income to cost of road and equipment...


03. 46 Percentage of Det income to capital stock.


01.09 Percentage of dividends declared to capital stock.


01.60 Miles of road built in New York State.


7.311.40 Tons of freight carried one mile.

10, 640,849, 655 9, 902, 683, 295 Increase in 1866 of 07.46 per cent. Average freight earnings per ton per mile (cents).


0.73 Average freight expenses per ton per mile.


0.52 Average freight profit per ton per mile.


0.21 #Passengers carried one mile (exclusive of elevated roads). 1,830, 734, 634 1,834,580, 425

Decrease in 1886 of 00.21 per cent.
Average passenger earnings per passenger per mile (cents)...


2.1 Average passenger expenses per passenger per mile (cents)...


1.3 Average passenger profit per passenger per mile (cents)


0.7 Includes respectively interest and dividends paid by lessors from rentals received from lessees as follows:


1885. Interest .....

$6,854,278 18 $5,031, 909 98 Dividends..

3, 481, 812 17 3, 427, 453 34 + These items are materially reduced in 1886 in consequence of the reorganization of the West Shore R. R. CO., by which its stock and debt was reduced from $125,924,839.75 in 1885 to $60,000,000 in 187, and its cost of road and equipment from $101,552,487.83 in 1885 to $60,000,000 in 1886.

This item would be somewhat larger in 1886 than in 1885, were it not that one company has failed to file its report this year.

REFERENCES AND COMPLAINTS. During the twelve months ending September 30, 1886, the Board has considered and disposed of twenty references by the Governor, the Legislature and committees thereof (as compared with five last year), and numerous complaints preferred by cities, towns, associations, individuals, etc. The determination in these matters is found in the appendix (P. 1 et seq.), to which reference is made for a full exposition thereof.

In its last annual report the Board expressed the expectation that the coinmittee of the United States Senate on inter-State commerce would recommend to Congress a measure providing for Federal supervision of that subject. It did so, but the bill failed to become a law. The matter is still left, therefore, in statu quo, and the subject is a constant source of embarrassment to this, as to other State Commissions. At the present writing the Board understands that a bill has been agreed upon by a conference committee of the House and Senate.


The Board has little to say as to this matter in addition to its previous expressions and to its recent decisions in the appendix of this volume to which your attention is drawn (see the views of the Board and its individual members, pages 218, 1st Ann. Report and 77, 136, 164, 198, of Vol. 1, 3rd Ann. Report, and page 131, of appendix).

A recent decision of the United States Supreme Court in the October Term, 1886, in the case of the Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific Railway Company v. The People of the State of Illinois, again elaborately defines the relative jurisdiction of the State and Federal governments over commerce.

ACCIDENTS. The record of accidents shows an increase of ninety-two in the total number of persons killed, and of two in those injured as compared with 1885.

The following table gives the record of the accidents classified: First, as to their causes ; second, as to whether beyond the control of the killed or injured, or in consequence of their misconduct or want of caution, for the years ending September 30, 1886 and 1885 : TABLE OF ACCIDENTS reported to the Board of Railroad Commissioners classified as to causes, for the years ond

ing September 30, 1886 and 1885. PASSENGERS.


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While the increase in the number of killed is to be deplored, a careful investigation of the causes of death shows that the increase was not the result of defective construction, rules or discipline, but rather of unpreventable causes, or of misconduct or carelessness upon the part of those killed.

Of the nineteen passengers killed from causes beyond their own control, fifteen were killed in the Silver Creek disaster, September 14th. This collision was the result of direct disobedience of orders upon the part of the engineer and conductor of one of the colliding trains, in passing the meeting point. (See report of investigation, page 149.)

Ten more people were killed by getting on or off trains in motion than in 1885, the result of their own carelessness. Nine more were killed coupling cars — indeterminable as to want of caution or otherwise. Fifteen more employees were killed while on track — probably the result of their own want of caution. Fifty-eight more

others,” that is neither employees nor passengers, were killed while walking or being on track, unquestionably the result of their own want of caution.

From an inspection of the table substantially the same conclusions are to be drawn as have been drawn heretofore from the inspection of the tables for 1885 and 1884. They are so important that the Board again calls attention to them.

The principal cause of death and injury to passengers, aside from the fifteen killed in the Silver Creek disaster, was getting on or off trains in motion (nine out of a total of thirty killed, and twenty-eight out of a total of ninety-five injured), and was the result of their own want of caution. There appears to be no way of

preventing this except by constantly calling attention to it. It was also the fourth most serious cause of death and injury to employees (ten deaths, and fifty-nine injuries).

The most serions cause of death to employees was walking or being on the track, a danger incident to their occupation and probably not preventable in any way. The next most serious cause was falling from trains, engines or cars (thirty killed and ninety-three injured). In addition to this there were eight "others” killed and eleven injured. While the latter were mostly trespassers engaged in stealing rides, the penalty paid was pretty severe even from the most rigorous standpoint.

The Board in its last two annual reports has used the following language:


“ There is probably no more dangerous occupation than that of the brakeman on a freight train, who is obliged to run from car to car setting brakes, particularly in frosty weather, when he is liable to slip at any moment either through a curve in the track or sudden stop. It suggests the propriety of recommending a low railing of iron pipe, about eighteen inches high, to be put on every freight car, which the brakernan could seize if falling and probably save his life in many cases. It would be very inexpensive, and the Board fails to see any reason why it would not be entirely practicable.”

The Board regrets to say that railroads have entirely ignored the suggestion. It deems the subject to be well worth legislative attention.

The cause leading to the third greatest number of deaths and injuries, almost equal in number to all other causes, was coupling cars.

The Board has been giving its continual attention to this subject. Resulting from its recommendation, a law was enacted by the Legislature of 1884 (being in chapter 439 of that year) providing that, “after July 1, 1886, no couplers shall be placed upon any new freight car to be built or purchased for use, in whole or in part, upon any steam railroad in this State, unless the same can be coupled and uncoupled automatically without the necessity of having a person guide the link, lift the pin by hand or go between the ends of the cars."

To facilitate the solution of the coupler problem as far as lay within its power, the Board held a series of practical tests of patent couplers in the yards of the New York Central railroad at East Albany on the 16th and 17th of June last.

The results which it reached and recommendations which it made are embodied in a report to which your attention is particularly directed. (P. 176 of the appendix.)

The most serious cause of death to "others ” (neither employees nor passengers), was walking or being on the track. This caused the loss of 247 lives and injury to 111 persons as against 189 lives and 113 injuries in 1885. The Board repeats its language in the two previous annual reports on this subject :

“The sufferers were, generally, almost invariably, trespassers, frequently suicides. The law forbids walking or being on the tracks of railroads, and makes it a misdemeanor punishable with fine; but it seems practically impossible to enforce it in this country, particularly away from the cities. In the yards and depot grounds railroads make an effort to expel trespassers, but they meet with little encouragement from the civil authorities. This is particularly true with regard to children and beggars picking up coal and cinders.

“In view of the terrible loss of life incident to its violation, the law should certainly be enforced with more vigor.”

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