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Total expenditures of 1874.
The total reported expenditures of all the companies, during the year ending December 31, 1874, were $26,377,346.92, distributed as
According to these returns, the expenditures for 1874 exceeded the receipts by $1,341,814.04. Deducting from this amount $860,371.87, credited to the dividend account, but really paid in bonds, and the deficit amounted to $481,442.17.
It will be observed, however, that in the above list of expenditures there is $2,449,815.67 credited to the account of new construction. Deducting this amount also from the total of expenditures, and we have a balance of $23,027,159.38, as the amount of expenditures allowed to be necessary. This gives a balance of $2,608,373.50 as the excess of earnings over expenditures for the year 1874.
Total expenditures of 1874-5.
The total expenditures by all the companies for the year ending June 30, 1875-the Milwaukee, Lake Shore and Western being allowed to stand the same as for the year 1874-amounted to $15,855,233.23; of which sum $5,182,875.81 was expended by the Milwaukee & St. Paul company, and $7,852,955.93 by the Chicago & Northwestern company. The average expenditures per mile of total lines were $3,252.18.
The proportion of expenses chargeable to the Wisconsin lines not being reported by either the Chicago & Northwestern, the Ga
lena & Southern Wisconsin, or the Western Union companies no attempt is made to report such proportion either in aggregate or per mile of road.
The operating expenses per train-mile for the year 1874-5 are given by the following companies only:
The details of many other items of expenditure for several of the roads will be found in table XXXVI (comparative statistics.) page 214, Official Papers and Statistics. The failure of some one or more of the companies to report each particular item renders it impracticable to give all the aggregates and averages it was our intention to present.
The total net earnings of the total lines (4,875.26 miles) reported for the year ending June 30, 1875, were $8,066,723.03, or $1,654.63 per mile. The total of net earnings to be credited to Wisconsin, as nearly as can be determined, was $2,018,226.50, or $786.61 per mile of Wisconsin road.
The average net earnings per mile (total mileage of 4,875.26 miles,) were $0,00707; the average net earnings per passenger mile, $0,0035. As the data for these calculations are not entirely complete, the figures given should be considered only a close approximation to the exact amount.
The per centage of net earnings, to gross earnings so commonly given in railway reports, requires to be taken with so much allowance that it is practically valueless as a test of economy. For, among others, the following are modifying circumstances:
The proportion of local to through business;
The amount of the business done, since certain expenses are fixed;
The cost of material and labor at the time of doing the busi
The accuracy of the yearly account of expenses, i. e. the care taken to charge to the account of each year what properly belongs to it; Relative newness of the road used-a comparatively new road of necessity requiring much larger expenses to keep it in order;
And, whether there was occasion for extraordinary expenditures on account of unavoidable accidents.
As shown by the returns, the per centage of net earnings to gross earnings, for the year 1874-5, on all the lines operated was .346; the per centage of total net earnings to total reported cost, .048.
The earnings, expenses, and profits of the Milwaukee, Chicago and St. Paul Railroad for the years ending December 31, 1873, December 31, 1874, and June 30, 1875, respectively, as per reports of the company, to the Secretary of State and to the Railroad Commissioners, were as follows:
The earnings, expenses and profits of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul road for the years 1873, 1874, and the year ending June 30, 1875, as gathered from the returns to the Secretary of State and to the Railroad Commissioners, were as follows:
The earnings, expenses and profits of the Chicago & Northwestern road for the years 1873, 1874, and the year ending June 30, 1875, as gathered from the returns to the Secretary of State and to the Railroad Commissioners, were as follows:
In view of the incompleteness of some of the data from which the foregoing calculations have been made, and the variable manner of reporting the operating expenses, by even the same company in different years, too much reliance should not be placed on the figures showing the comparative net earnings of these two companies for the years named; and such must always be the case so long as there is no fixed and rigidly observed rule as to what shall be reported as such expenses. For example, the reports of the Chicago Milwaukee and St. Paul Company for the years 1873, 1874, and 1874-5 show a difference in one case amounting to over $2,000,000, according to the report of the president, chiefly due to differences in the expenditures for steel and iron rail.
Assuming the correctness of the figures given, the per centages of net earnings of the Chicago,,Milwaukee and St. Paul road to total stock, for the three years respectively, were: For 1873, about ten per cent.; for 1874, one and four-tenths per cent.; for 1874-5, one and one-tenth per cent.
Assuming, in like manner, the correctness of the returns of the Chicago and Northwestern Company, the per centages of the net
earnings of its road to total stock, for the three years in question, were: For 1873, about ten and eight-tenths per cent.; for 1874, seven per cent.; and for 1874-75, six and two-tenths per cent.
But two companies, the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul, and the Chicago & Northwestern, are reported as having paid dividends for some years past, and neither of these paid any dividend last year. The amounts and rates per cent. paid by them in the years 1873 and 1874 were as follows:
As might have been anticipated, in view of the extreme depression in commercial affairs, and from the extravagant and reckless manner in which railroad building and management had been conducted for many years, the prices of railroad securities have also been greatly depressed. Many things had conspired to destroy all faith in railroad investments, so that, while the bonds of promising roads were a drug in the market, the bonds of new companies, however well organized, and how much soever the projected roads were needed, have commanded no purchasers. Indeed, public confidence had so far gone out of capitalists and people that the proposition to sell new stocks at any price was calculated to provoke ridicule.
This condition of things was aggravated in the first half of 1875 by quite a general decline in earnings, partly due to business depression generally and low prices of agricultural products, and partly to the activity of competition between roads, especially between the great trunk-lines connecting the West with the seaboard.
Railroad bonds, though considerably depressed, have in general, where well secured upon important roads, held the confidence of