These items aggregate about 1.3% of the operating expenses. There seems to be a slight tendency for the percentage to increase. Since the consumption of all these supplies will vary nearly as the engine mileage, the engineer is concerned with them directly to the extent to which he may change the engine mileage.
This item includes the wages of conductors and "other trainmen." As in the case of all other employees, the average daily wages have advanced since 1900 as shown below:
Other trainmen ........
The following form shows the variation in the daily wages of conductors and trainmen in the several Groups for 1910.
Other trainmen ...........
These figures are of vital importance from an economic standpoint since they show a constant tendency to increase and thereby raise the average Gost of a train mile. And as there is no present indication of any limit to this increase, all economic calculations which attempt to predict future expenses, even for a few years in advance, must allow for these and other increased expenses.
These items, which average about 1.8%, include the large list of consumable supplies, such as lubricating oil, illuminating-oil or gas, ice, fuel for heating, cleaning materials, etc., which are used on the cars and not on the locomotives. The consumption of some of these articles is chiefly a matter of time. In other cases it is a function of mileage. The effect of changes which an engineer may make on this item will be considered when estimating the effect of the changes.
These expenses are fortuitous and bear no absolute relation either to the number of miles of road or the number of train-miles. While they depend largely on the standards of discipline on the road, even the best of roads have to pay some small proportion of their earnings to these items. While we might expect that a road with heavy traffic would have a larger proportion, of train accidents than a road of light traffic, it is usually true that on the heavy-traffic roads the precautions taken are such that they are usually freer from accidents than the light-traffic roads. During recent years there has been a very perceptible increase in the percentages of these items, particularly in the compensations paid for "injuries to persons." The increase in this item coincides with the increase already noted in the number of passengers killed during recent years. The possible relation between curvature and accidents has already been discussed, but otherwise the locating engineer has no concern with these items.
A large part of these debit and credit charges are those for car per diem and mileage charges. This is a charge paid by one road to another for the use of cars, which are chiefly freight-cars. To save the rehandling of freight at junctions, the policy of running freight-cars from one road to another is very extensively adopted. Since the foreign road receives its mileage proportion of the freight charge, it justly pays to the road owning the car a rate which is supposed to represent the value of the use of the freight-car for the number of miles traveled. The foreign road then loads up the freight-car with freight consigned to some point on the home road and sends it back, paying mileage for the distance traveled on the foreign road, a proportional freight charge having been received for that service. All of these movements of freight-cars are reported to a car association, which, by a clearing-house arrangement, settles the debit and credit accounts of the various roads with each other. Such is the simple theory. In practice the cars are not sent back to the home road at once, but wander off according to the local demand. As long as a strict account is kept of the movements of every car, and as long as the home road is paid the charge which really covers the value of lost ser vice, no harm is done to the home road, except that sometimes, when business has suddenly increased, the home road cannot get enough cars to handle its own business. The value of the car is then abnormally above its ordinary value, and the home road suffers for lack of the rolling stock which belongs to it. Formerly such charges were paid strictly according to the mileage. This developed the intolerable condition that loaded cars would be run onto a siding and left there for several days, simply because it was not convenient to the consignee to unload the car immediately. On the mileage basis the car would be earning nothing, and, since the road on which the car then was had no particular interest in the car, the car was allowed to stand to suit the convenience of the consignee. To correct this evil a system of per-diem charges has been developed, so that a railroad has to pay a per-diem charge for every foreign car on its lines. To reduce this charge as much as possible the railroads compel consignees, under penalty of heavy demurrage charges, to unload cars promptly. The running of freight-cars on foreign lines is now settled almost exclusively on the per-diem basis, but the earning of passenger-cars over other lines, as is done on account of the advantages of through-car service, as well as the running of Pullmans and other special cars, is still paid for on the mileage basis. To the extent to which this charge is settled on the mileage basis, any change in distance which the engineer may be able to effect in the length of the road will have its influence on this item, but when the freight-car business, which comprises by far the larger part of the running of cars over foreign lines, is settled on the per-diem basis no changes in alinement which the engineer may make will have any influence on the item.
Where two or more railroads intersect there will be a considerable amount of shifting of cars, chiefly, freight-cars, from one road to the other. This shifting at any one junction may be done entirely by the engines of one road or perhaps by those of both roads. A portion of the expense of this work is charged up against the other road by the road which does the work. The total amount of this work is carefully accounted for by a clearing-house arrangement, and the balance is charged up against the road which has done the least work. The item is very small, is fairly uniform year by year, and is seldom, if ever, affected by changes of alinement.