It is sometimes attempted to quickly estimate the probable earnings per mile of road by a comparison of the earnings per mile of existing roads which are similarly situated. The gross earnings per train-mile for every railroad in the United States are given in the statistics of the Interstate Commerce Commission. We will consider first the gross earnings per mile of road and per train-mile for the ten greatest railroad systems of the country and will also consider similar figures for ten small railroads which are chosen at random, except that their mileage is invariably less than 100 miles and also that they are all independent railroads, and therefore it need not be considered that their gross earnings are dependent upon their relationship to a larger trunk system. These figures are given in Table V.

An inspection of these figures will show that the gross receipts per mile of road are exceedingly variable, even for roads in the same section of the country and of approximately the same mileage. On the one hand, it will be seen that the earnings per mile of road of the five small roads in Group II are all very much smaller than the average per mile of road for that group. The earnings per mile of road evidently bear a close relation to the frequency of the train service, and this of course is exceedingly variable.

Table V. Gross Earnings Per Mile Of Road And Per Train-Mile For Great And Small Roads (1904)

No. in Report.

Mileage.

Gross annual receipts.

Gross earnings per train-mile.

Per mile of road.

Per mile of road for that group.

Whole United States ....

220,112

$9,306

...........

$1.94

52

Canadian Pacific .........

8,382

$5,540

...............

$1.92

1412

C. B. &Q..............

8,326

7,640

...........

2.04

1407

Chicago & Northwestern.

7,412

7,190

............

1.71

939

Southern Railway ...........

7,197

6,270

...............

1.49

1433

C. R. 1. &P............

6,761

5,580

..............

1.64

1534

Northern Pacific........

5,619

8,300

.........

2.66

1383

A. T. & S. F...........

5,031

8,330

..............

2.17

1471

Great Northern ................

4,489

8,080

...............

2.94

1242

Illinois Central ................

4,374

10,710

............

1.58

975

Atlantic Coast Line .........

4,229

4,860

...............

1.67

Average of ten ...............

$ 7,250

..............

$1.98

78

Montpelier & Wells River.

44

$ 4,095

13,994

$1 45

134

Somerset Railway Co... .

42

2,960

13,994

1.35

349

Hunt. & Broadtop Mt. . .

66

11,560

20,187

1.82

374

Lehigh & New England..

96

1,990

1.14

396

Ligonier Valley.........

11

6,570

2.06

486

Newburgh,Dutch.& Conn.

59

2,910

1.08

660

Susquehanna & N. Y....

55

3,625

1.74

769

Detroit & Charlevoix . . .

51

1,770

11,863

2.11

1239

Harriman & Northeast'n

20

4,510

6,679

2.73

1835

Galv., Hous. & Henderson

50

7,560

5,443

3.29

Average of ten......

.............

$4,755

...............

$1.88

There is hardly a possibility of uniformity until we determine the average revenue per train-mile, which is also given in Table V. In this case, however, there is a uniformity which is really remarkable in spite of the variations which are seen. It may be noted that the average revenue per train-mile for the large roads is much more nearly uniform and that it closely approximates to the average value for the whole United States as might have been expected. The revenue per train-mile from the smaller roads, while it covers a far larger range than in the case of the larger systems, is nevertheless a figure with some limitations. It seldom drops below $1, and the cases are rare where it rises above $3. But even such a figure is of but little value until the proper number of train-miles per year may be determined, and this after all brings us back to the point where we started, viz., the determination of the amount of traffic from which we may obtain an idea as to the number of trains. It is perfectly true, as elaborated later, that on roads of very small traffic the number of trains will not be strictly proportional to the number of passengers carried nor to the gross number of the tons of freight. Nevertheless, if the number of trains is increased in order to encourage traffic, the revenue per train-mile will be reduced, although it is sometimes a wise proceeding to do so.