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Directorates exclusively by a consideration of the circumstances which produce the largest revenue to the Companies; and the circumstances which produce the largest revenue are those which most induce travellers to avail themselves of railway facilities. As regards the public, it may easily be shown, that nothing is so desirable, for their interests, as to take advantage of all the opportunities afforded by railways. As regards railways, it is certain, that nothing is so profitable, because nothing is so cheaply transported, as passenger traffic. Goods traffic, of whatsoever description, must be more or less costly. Every article conveyed by railway requires handling and conveyance beyond the limit of the railway station ; but passengers take care of themselves, and find their own way, at their own cost, from the terminus at which they are set down. It is true, that passengers require carriages somewhat more expensive in their construction than those prepared for goods ; but this expense is compensated for by the circumstance that they are capable of running, and do run, a much greater number of miles, – that the weight of passengers is small in proportion to the weight of goods, – and that consequently the cost for locomotive power is less. It has been shown that 111,000,000 passengers, weighing 8,000,000 tons, have been conveyed, during the past year, over an average distance of 11 miles; yielding a revenue of more than £9,000,000 sterling. This gives, at the least, 2s. per ton per mile for the weight of passengers conveyed. Coals are conveyed, in some instances, at one halfpenny per ton per mile. It is to be recollected that trains are usually capable of transporting at least two or three times the number of passengers ordinarily travelling by them, and that the weight of the passengers, in all cases, is in extremely small proportion to the gross weight of a train, as, on an average, there will be 14 passengers to every ton, and each train will readily convey 200 passengers. The cost of running a train may be assumed in most cases to be about 15q. per mile; therefore 100 passengers, at five-eighths of a penny per mile per passenger, would give 5s. 24d. per train per mile, which may be taken as about the average of train earnings throughout the year. It is obvious, therefore, that any thing beyond five-eighths of a penny per mile per passenger may be rendered profitable, even if the passenger train is only half filled. Hence all Directorates should look to the maximum amount of

It AILWAY SYSTEM AND ITS RESULTS. 525

gross revenue to be derived from large passenger-traffic, which maximum amount is only to be obtained by affording enlarged public facilities and temptations to travel. It results, then, that the interests of the public and of the companies are identical, and not antagonistic. It is not necessary to this argument to conclude, that in all cases fares should be fixed at a minimum rate. On the contrary, they should be regulated by local circumstances and considerations of public convenience and facility. In London and other parts of the kingdom where the population is dense, and where millions desire conveyance over short distances, say, of from two to ten miles, low fares are indispensable, and wherever they have been tried, have proved thoroughly successful. As the average railway fare throughout the kingdom does not exceed 1s. 6d. per passenger, or the cost of conveyance, in a first-class carriage, from London to Wimbledon, a distance of seven miles and a half, it will be seen how preponderating a proportion of railway receipts arises entirely from local traffic;-that local traffic can be most completely developed, wherever there are centres of public attraction and interest;—and that whether to a Crystal Palace or to a country fair, or market, a low fare for a short distance, on the returnticket principle, or otherwise, is sure to pay. It is the lowness of price, in these cases, which is the real temptation to the population, and the fare should be regulated by that consideration. But there are other cases, in which the lowness of price will not be the consideration. In a journey, for instance, from London to Edinburgh, or to Aberdeen, the amount of time consumed is necessarily so large that, however low the fare, the great bulk of the public could not abandon other avocations for a sufficient interval to undertake the journey. No mere inducement of low fare, therefore, would be likely greatly to increase the traffic on so long a route. The public who have to perform so long a journey want, in such cases, high rates of speed, together with those increased comforts and conveniences which are the more needed by travellers in proportion to the length of their journey. Provided these are afforded, liberal fares may be demanded from the public for these longer routes. And from this argument it may be deduced, that an invariable policy of either high or low fares is equally vicious, if applied to all cases; that every case ought to be treated upon consideration of its local circumstances; and that a system which, under one condition of things, would be fatal, may, under another state of circumstances, be developed with success. The facilities afforded by Railways to the Post-office are, no doubt, of the highest public consequence. The speed which is attained in the transmission would appear at first to be the greatest item in the catalogue of those facilities; but it may be doubted if it is the most important. What is really of the greatest value to the Post-office, is the facility afforded for conveying bulk. It is not too much to say that, without railway facilities, the excellent plans of Mr. Rowland Hill for the reduction of the rates of postage, could not have been carried out to their full extent. The first essential to the success of those plans would have been wanting ; for there would have been no sufficient means of conveying the greatly increased mass of correspondence necessary to be carried, in order to render the reduced rates of postage profitable. The old mail coaches were never planned for bulk, which would, indeed, have been fatal to that regularity and speed upon which the Post-office could alone rely, as the means of securing to the Government the monopoly of the letter-carriage of the nation. The aggregate weight of the evening mails despatched from London, in 1838, in twenty-eight mail-coaches, amounted, as was shown by the Report of the Select Committee on Postage, to only 4 tons 6 cwt., or an average of about 33 cwt. per coach. But now, on a Friday night, when so many thousands of weekly papers are sent into the eountry, the Post-office requires, on the London and North Western Railway, not only the use of the travelling post-office which is provided for its convenience, but it occupies also six or eight additional vans. It is obvious, therefore, that if the existing system of the Post-office had been in operation, with the present results, in the days of mail-coach communication, not one mail alone, but fourteen or fifteen mails, such as were used in those days, would have been needed to carry on, with regularity, the Post-office traffic between (say) London and Birmingham. Nearly every coach that ran in 1830, between Birmingham and London, would now have been needed for Postoffice purposes, if the London and North Western Railway had not been brought into existence. The expenses would, consequently, have been so large, that a universal penny postage would have entailed a certain loss. For the great blessing, therefore,

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derived from cheap postal communication, the nation is, in a great degree, indebted to the facilities offered by railways. It must be borne in mind, here, that the boon conferred upon the public is not limited to written correspondence. Viewed in reference to the postal facilities they afford, the railways are the great public instructors and educators of the day. Contrast the size of “The Times” in 1830 and in 1856. Do you suppose that the huge mass of paper, which you are permitted to forward by to-night's post, would have been conveyed upon the same terms, if the means of conveyance had remained limited to the mail and its four horses? Look at the immense mass of Parliamentary Reports and documents, now distributed every session, amongst all the constituencies of the empire, at almost a nominal charge. To what do the public owe the valuable information embodied in those documents, but to railways? Except as parcels by waggons, or by canal boats, they never could have been conveyed, prior to the existence of the railway system; and if they never could have been distributed, we may rely upon it that they never would have been printed. The reasoning which applies to “The Times” and to State papers, applies to newspapers generally, and to the distribution of the Prices Current of merchants, and of magazines, monthly publications, and bulky parcels of every description. Without railway facilities they would probably never have been circulated at all,—certainly they never could have been circulated to the extent necessary to make them profitable. Hence, the railway, as before observed, is the great engine for the diffusion of knowledge. Bearing these things in mind, it is obviously the duty of the Government and of the Legislature to deal with railways upon an enlarged and liberal basis, in respect to all matters relating to postal communication. It is, no doubt, of the highest importance to the public, that the advantages railways are capable of affording to the Post-office should be secured. Looking to the public interest, it is difficult, if not altogether impossible, to contend against any Act of Parliament that peremptorily insists upon postal facilities being afforded, to the full extent they may be required for the public interest. At the same time, whilst we may admit that railways have a duty to perform to the nation, in facilitating postal communication, it is clear that the peculiar and extraordinary advantages they afford in that respect, entitle them to a large share of consideration and to very liberal compensation for the work which they perform. It does not, however, altogether appear that the Companies have, hitherto, always been met by the Post-office in the way in which they conceive themselves entitled to be treated. No fault, on this account, attaches to the Post-office officials, who execute their arduous and important labours with very commendable zeal and with all possible courtesy; but the system of the Government has been to require heavy service, and to allow the Companies little or no profit for its performance. A rent is paid, amounting to a fair rate of interest upon cost, for the carriages and vans which are employed upon a line; with, in addition, the exact amount of haulage and other special current expenses, which can be proved to be entailed by the conveyance of the mails; but should it chance, that upon any line the ordinary trains do not suit Postoffice purposes, the Companies may be compelled to put on trains at suitable hours for the mails, for which, ordinarily, very little remuneration is allowed, beyond the absolute outlay which the running of such trains can be proved to have entailed. The effect of this must naturally be, to make Railway Companies indifferent to postal traffic. It is needless to point out how seriously this must be to the public disadvantage. If Railway Companies had an interest in developing postal as well as passenger communication, what facilities might not be afforded to the people ! It is beginning to be found, from the great bulk of correspondence requiring delivery, especially in London, that uncertainty, irregularity, and delay are becoming more and more frequent at the Post-office. If Railway Companies were interested in postal intercourse, nothing would be easier for them than to make arrangements, whereby the deliveries, being rendered much more frequent, might entail much less duty at one given hour. Increased rapidity, certainty, and regularity, would be thereby obtained; advantages which, with the means now at the disposal of the Post-office, and with its vastly and rapidly increasing business, there seems but little prospect of the Government alone being able to secure. The Post-office has recently absolutely entered into competition with the Railway Companies. As carriers, the Companies derived considerable profit from parcels. The Post-office, finding that railways afford the means of carrying any quantity of bulk,

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