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THIRD ANNUAL REPORT
YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1880.
STATE OF IOWA.
PRINTED BY ORDER OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.
STATE OF IOWA,
DES MOINES, IOWA, November 30, 1880.
To HONORABLE John H. GEAR, Gorernor of Iowa:
In accordance with the requirements of law, we have the honor to submit herewith the third annual report of the Board of Railroad Commissioners, showing the general traffic, earnings, operating expenses, and condition of the railroad companies doing business in Iowa for the year ending June 30, A. D. 1880, together with the returns of the several companies to this office, and tabulated statements therefrom.
No change has taken place in the organization or membership of the Board since the date of our last report. On the 12th Januały, 1880, J. S. Cameron, Esq., the efficient and able secretary of the Board, from its organization to that date, tendered his resignation and severed his connection with the Board. We deem it simply an act of justice to say that his services, owing to his knowledge and skill in railroad matters, were invaluable to the Board, and all its members regretted beyond expression his withdrawal from the work. however, happy on his retirement in securing the services of E. G. Morgan, Esq., who was on the same day appointed secretary, and continues to act in that capacity.
We congratulate the people of the State upon the growing efficiency of its railroad service, and the rapid and harmonious solution of many difficult questions relating to the subject of transportation. Each year seems to bring the carrier and the producer to a clearer comprehension of the great truth that their interests are common and not adverse and conflicting. The unparalleled wealth of production, as is
showu in another part of our report, has, with a force greater than that of any legislative order or decree forced the rate per ton per mile for hauling down until the great roads of Iowa are enabled to show that it now costs but little more than one cent per ton per mile to haul our products to market, and the prospect in the near future is, that the cost will be less than one cent per
mile. The rapid increase in the miles of railroad and the crystallization of isolated commercial enterprises into harmonious and far-reaching systems have brought almost every man's shop, factory, and farm nearer to market, while the work done and to be done by the transporter has furnished and is furnishing wages and bread to near one hundred thousand of the people of the State.
A reference to that portion of our report which sets forth in detail the action of the Commissioners with reference to complaints formally and informally made show, it is to be hoped, a satisfactory solution of many important and difficult questions, and it must be a matter of congratulation that the recommendations made by the Commissioners have been complied with by the companies to which the several recommendations have been made.
A careful study of the tables submitted herewith, and comparison of the reports for the years 1878, 1879, and 1880, disclose a gratifying progress of the railroad system of Iowa toward greater efficiency and economy in management. Upon every side we find improvement, better grades, better track, and more complete equipment. While many sad accidents are from day to day occurring, yet we are glad to note that no great disaster has overtaken us during the period extending from the time of our last annual report.
Attention is called to extended remarks upon the railroad returns and facts gathered therefrom. The evident inaccuracy of some of the reports and frequent omissions to answer questions propounded by the Commissioners found in the reports, constitute a ground of regret. Much of this failure is undoubtedly due to the system of keeping accounts, but at times we are unable to resist the conclusion that some railroad managers and officials have not yet rid themselves of the old time idea that the public has no concern with railroad affairs, and that all attempts made by the people to inform themselves in regard thereto, are unwarranted interferences in private matters, only to be tolerated through fear of greater evils. In the main, however, we note a willingness to report all facts required, which we believe is an evidence of a changed and healthier sentiment on the part of railroad officials, and that all are eventually to be brought to conclude and determine that only in publicity is there complete safety to both railroad companies and their patrons.
COMPLAINTS MADE BY PERSONS, FIRMS, ETC., AGAINST RAILROAD COMPANIES, ON VARIOUS ACCOUNTS, AND ACTION OF THE COMMISSIONERS IN RELATION THERETO.
We submit herewith a detailed report of the action taken by the Commissioners upon the various matters of complaint laid before them from time to time by letter and otherwise:
W. H. DICKEY VS. CHICAGO, Rock ISLAND & Pacific R. R., FILED No
VEMBER 10, 1879.
CENTERVILLE, Iowa, October 29, 1879. To the Hon. Board of Railroad Commissioners:
SIR—We are mining and shipping coal, and have been for the last two years. Last winter we had got up a good trade at Washington, Wilton, West Liberty, Iowa City and Marengo, but lost most of it on account of not getting cars to ship. We could not fill our orders promptly and lost the trade. We have got some trade in Iowa City and Marengo this fall, but will lose it if we cannot fill those orders. We go to the agent here and order cars, but don't get them, and have to hold our orders and our men wanting the coal. The agent here claims that he cannot get the cars; that the company are using them in shipping grain, and the way Centerville is used in regard to getting cars our coal will have no market. We have got good coal and gives good satisfaction, and we could get a big trade on it if we were furnished cars so we could fill orders promptly. The agent here treats us as well as he does the other men that are in coal trade, but none of us can get cars as we want them. I will refer you to D. A. Spooner, Oliver & Dungable, Holden Bros., Conard & Co. The above named men are coal dealers, and want to ship on the C., R. I. & P. R. R. Can you do anything for us? If you can I will take it as a favor.
W. H. DICKEY.
DES MOINES, November 10, 1879.
Hugh RIDDLE, Esq., President C., R. I. & P. Ry:
SIR-This office is in receipt of a letter, of which the following is a copy. Under a general instruction of the Board of Commissioners I submit it to your attention. [The above letter of complaint was here inserted.] Your early attention is called to the above complaint.
J. S. CAMERON, Secretary.