The relative cost of ballast, ties, rails and other track material, as shown by comparing either the gross amounts or the percentages in Table IX, is suggestive and instructive. The fact that ties cost considerably more than all other track material combined shows the importance of any possible saving in tie renewals. It is also significant that the relative importance of ties has increased in the last few years, and that the relative increase has not bee due to a reduction in the cost of other track material. Apparently the lengthening of the average life of ties, due to preservative processes, the use of tie plates, and greater care to avoid the premature withdrawal from the track of ties which are still serviceable, has not kept pace with the increase in the average cost per tie. The cost of Bessemer rails per ton has remained almost constant for several years, but the adoption of heavier rails by many roads, necessitated by heavier rolling stock, and also the adoption of open-hearth steel costing about $2 per ton more for much of the tonnage, have been potent causes in increasing the cost of maintenance.

53. Item 6. Roadway And Track

This item is three-eighths of the total cost of maintenance of way and structures. It consists chiefly of the wages of trackmen. There has been an almost steady increase in the daily wages of section foremen and other trackmen since 1900, as shown below:

1900

1901

1902

1903

1904

1905

1906

1907

1908

1909

1910

Section foremen.........

1.68

1.71

1.72

1.78

1.78

1.79

1.80

1.90

1.95

1.96

1.99

Other trackmen ..........

1.22

1.23

1.25

1.31

1.33

1.32

1.36

1.46

1.45

1.38

1.47

No. of trackmen per 100miles

118

122

140

147

136

143

155

162

130

136

157J

The average number of section foremen per 100 miles of line has remained almost constant at 18. Although there have been fluctuations in the number of "other trackmen" required per 100 miles of line, there has been in general a very substantial increase. These two causes combined (increased number and increased wages) have had a great influence in producing the regular and steady increase in the average cost of a train mile, as shown in §50. The variations in average daily wages in the various Groups (see Map, Fig. 4) for 1910 are shown herewith:

Average Wages Of Trackmen In The Several Groups

I.

II.

III.

IV.

V.

VI.

VII.

VIII.

IX.

X.

U.S.

Section foremen .................

2.38

2.08

1.99

1.77

1.83

1.90

2.22

1.83

1.88

2.51

1.99

Other trackmen........

1.65

1.52

1.57

1.21

1.13

1.56

1.60

1.37

1.26

1.52

1.47

The classification of expenses for "small roads" combine items 2 to 7. It should be noted that this item (see Table IX A) is over three-fourths of the total for that division, and also that the cost of maintenance of way and structures for "small roads" is nearly 26% of the total operating expenses and that it is about 20% for "large roads." In 1908 and 1909, this difference was even more marked and the fact should not be neglected when considering the economics of a project which will evidently be, at least for many years, a "small road".

54. Items 8 To 15. Maintenance Of Track Structures

As a matter of economics, the locating engineer has little or no concern with the cost of maintaining track structures, If he is comparing two proposed routes it would be seldom that they would be so different that he would be justified in attempting to compute a train-mile difference in cost of operation, based on differences in these items. Of course, one proposed line might call for one or more tunnels which the alternate line might not have, and the annual cost of maintaining the tunnels would increase the cost of operation. Such a case would justify special consideration. So far as the maintenance of small bridges and culverts are concerned it would usually be sufficiently accurate to consider that a proposed change of line, involving perhaps several miles of road, would require substantially the same number of bridges and culverts, and therefore that the cost of maintaining them would be the same by either line. The error involved in such an assumption would usually be insignificant, unless there was a very large and material difference in the two lines in this respect. Under such conditions special computations should be made. The items total less than 3% for small roads and still less for large roads.

55. Items 16 To 21

The other items of maintenance of way and structures are very small, except No. 16, and under ordinary conditions will not be affected by any changes which the locating engineer may make, except as noted in the chapter, on Distance.