of the passenger’s journey in the United States is reported to be about 32 m.; in Great Britain it is undoubtedly less, but no record is published. Of the total train mileage in America more than half is freight; in Great Britain much more than half is passenger.
Table XV. shows the casualties on American railways in 1907 and 1908 (year ending June 30). These figures differ from those in Table XIV. because of differences in classification. In Table XIV. the item “passengers killed” includes those on some electric railways, which presumably are not covered in the statement here given; also passengers in freight trains, &c. Under “employees” this table includes men in shops, &c., not shown in Table XIV.
In 1907 one passenger in 2,318,051 was killed, and one in 107,004 was injured, in train accidents. The number of employés killed in train accidents was 12·9 in 10 million train miles. Of train men (including engine-drivers and firemen), one out of 125 employed was killed (all causes), and one in eight injured.
The great differences between the records of the United States and the United Kingdom seem to afford justification for the view, which has often been expressed, that in America the spirit of hurry and recklessness manifest in many of the activities of the people prevails even among the men on whom rests the grave responsibility of running trains in safety. Yet the best safety devices are made in America, and means of reducing these death records are well known.
France.—Railway accidents in France are recorded in a shape somewhat different from that found in either Great Britain or America. The principal items for the years 1906 and 1907 are shown in Table XVI. The length of railways in the republic was 39,963 km. (24,832 m.), the number of persons employed on them was rather less than 300,000, the number of passengers carried annually being between 450 and 500 millions. The number of passengers (36) killed in train accidents in 1907 was equal to 0·0759 per million passengers carried and 0·0024 per million kilometres travelled by passengers, or 0·1503 per million kilometres travelled by trains.
|In train accidents—||Killed.||Injured.||Killed.||Injured.|
|Other accidents, due to railway operations—|
|Passengers and others||11||39||14||29|
|Other accidents, victim’s own fault—|
|Passengers and others||290||189||305||155|
The most significant item in the table, 36 passengers killed in train accidents, is perhaps to be considered as abnormally large, the totals under this head for the preceding six years beginning with 1901 being 7, 35, 3, 18, 4, 14, or an average of 11·57 per year. The French secretary of Public Works, who has furnished these statistics, keeps also similar records of the local or light railways, on which the number of fatal accidents appears to be exceedingly small.
Germany.—The number of persons killed on the railways of the German Empire in the year 1907 was 1249, classified as in Table XVII. This number does not include suicides and attempts at suicide, of which there were 333, all but 24 being successful. In these statistics, the third item, “other persons,” includes post office and customs officials and other persons connected with the railway service, as well as railway officers and servants off duty. The totals of passengers killed and injured in train accidents are not separated from those killed and injured from other causes, but ratios are given showing that for four years no passengers were killed in this class.
See the Quarterly and Annual Reports, issued by the Board of Trade, London, and the Annual Statistical Reports and Quarterly Accident Bulletins, published by the Interstate Commerce Commission, Washington.
(B. B. A.)
The methods of financing railway enterprises, both new projects and existing lines, have been influenced very largely by the attitude of the state and of municipal authorities. Railways may be built for military reasons or for commercial reasons, or for a combination of the two. The Trans-Siberian railway was a military necessity if Russia was to exercise dominion throughout Siberia and maintain a port on the Yellow Sea or the Sea of Japan. The Union Pacific railroad was a military necessity to the United States if the authority of the national government was to be maintained in the Far West. The cost of such ventures and the detailed methods by which they are financed are of relatively small importance, because they are not required to earn a money return on the investment. To a less degree, the same is true of railways built for a special instead of a general commercial interest. The Baltimore & Ohio railroad was built to protect and further the commercial interests of the city of Baltimore; the Cincinnati Southern railway is still owned by the city of Cincinnati, which built the line in the ’seventies for commercial protection against Louisville, Ky. From a commercial point of view such ventures are differentiated from railway projects built for general commercial reasons because they do not depend on their own credit. The government, national or local, furnishes the borrowing power, and makes the best bargain it can with the men it designates to operate the line.
Where a railway is built for general commercial reasons, however, it must furnish its own credit; that is to say, it must convince investors that it can be worked profitably and give them an assured return on the funds they advance. The state is interested in the commercial railway venture as a matter of public policy, and because it can confer or withold the right of eminent domain, without which the railway builder would be subjected to endless annoyance and expense. This governmental sanction has been obtainable only with difficulty, and after the exercise of numerous legal forms, in Great Britain and on the continent of Europe. In the United States, on the other hand, it has been obtained with considerable ease. In the earlier years of American railway building, each project was commonly the subject of a special law; then special laws were in turn succeeded by general railway laws in the several states, and these in turn have come to be succeeded in most parts of the country by jurisdiction vested in the state railway commission. Each of these changes has tended to improve the existing status, to legitimize railway enterprise, and to safeguard capital or investment.
The laws regulating original outputs for capital were strictly drawn in Great Britain and on the continent of Europe; in America they were drawn very loosely. As a result it has been far easier for the American than for the European railway builder to take advantage of the speculative instinct in obtaining money. Instead of the borrowing power being restricted to a small percentage of the total capital, as in European countries, most of the railway mileage of America has been built with borrowed money, represented by bonds, while stock has been given freely as an inducement to subscribe to the bonds on the