Deferring until Chapter III (Capitalization. 12. Stock) an analy sis of railway capital from the financial standpoint, it is instructive to note the total value of railway property and its relation to the total national wealth. In Table II is given for decennial periods the total national wealth, the wealth per inhabitant, and the corresponding average figures for railway property.
Total national wealth, millions.
Wealth per capita.
Total railway capital, millions.
Railway capital per capita.
* Cost of construction.
It affords some idea of the magnitude of the railroad business of the country to note that if the total railway capitalization (stocks and bonds) in 1910 were divided equally among the total population, every man, woman, and child would have railroad securities of a par value of $200. It will be shown later that the "commercial value" of all the railroads for 1904 was about 85% of their par value.
A few statements regarding the actual service rendered by railways, and more particularly the growth of that service, will enable the student to better appreciate the influence which railroads have on our civilization.
For the fiscal year ending June 30
Total number of passengers carried (millions).
Average annual rides per capita ................................
" miles per ride ..........................................
" revenue per passenger mile, cents. . .
" number of passengers in train......
" receipts per passenger-train mile....
Number of tons carried one mile (millions) ..
Average tons of freight per train............
" revenue per ton of freight..........
" " " ton-mile, cents.........
" " " freight-train mile.......
" " " train mile, all trains....
" operating expenses per train mile.. . .
Gross earnings from operation, millions......
A brief study of these figures shows that although the business of the railroads has increased about 75% in ten years and the facilities have been enormously increased, the unit charges per passenger mile and per ton mile have been practically stationary. The passenger revenue comprises about 22.5% of the total, the freight about 70%, while the mail, express, and other miscellaneous items, earn the remaining 7.5%. Although the ordinary local passenger fare is usually 3 cents per mile and often higher, the average rate of approximately 2 cents results from the enormous volume of commutation ticket business, The gross earnings from operation represent about $27.50 per capita. Considering the hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of our population who never buy a railroad ticket or pay a freight bill, this figure may seem incredible, but it should be remembered that a considerable proportion of the cost of every ton of coal and, perhaps in lesser degree, of almost every article of manufacture and of farm and mineral products consists of the cost of transportation, which is paid indirectly to a dealer, if it is not paid directly to the railroad company.
1,502,823 employees were carried on the rolls on June 30, 1909, or an average of 6.38 per mile of line. There were paid to these employees $988,323,694, which is over 44% of the gross earnings from operation, or 61% of the total operating expenses. This number of employees represents nearly one-sixtieth of the population. Probably one-twentieth of the population was supported by these earnings. When we consider the number of locomotive shops, car shops, bridge shops, and factories of various kinds whose output is consumed in whole or in part by the railroads of the country, it is probably true that one-fourth of the entire population live on wages furnished directly by the railroads or by industries which are chiefly supported by railroads.