James Shirley Eaton.

Handbook of railroad expenses online

. (page 7 of 52)
Online LibraryJames Shirley EatonHandbook of railroad expenses → online text (page 7 of 52)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

ing sites and shop grounds and their paved ways within the


limits of or immediately adjacent to the buildings are part of
the building plant, and are not maintained by this account.

In the elimination of grade crossings which are charged to
Additions and Betterments, all incidental maintenance of the
crossing during the progress of the work is chargeable to this

12. Snow and Sand Fences and Snowsheds. Protection
against snow and sand drifts and avalanches on some roads is so
large an undertaking as to require a special outfit of snow fences,
both portable and fixed, and extended lines of snowsheds. The
permanent character and extent of such special facilities render
a separate account desirable to trace their maintenance expense.

In this account, together with the direct maintenance of these
things, is included all expense incidental to this maintenance,
such as watchmen and fire protection for snowsheds. The real
purpose of the account being to provide for maintenance of all
facilities to protect the roadway from snow, the cost of planting
and caring for tree windbreaks is construed to be in the same
class with repairs of snow fences.

The actual placing of portable snow fences, however, is car-
ried, together with the direct expense of fighting the snow to
keep the roadway open, to " Removal of Snow, Sand and Ice."
This is because it has direct relation to the emergency, and
includes no deferred results of its own maintenance.

This account is to meet extraordinary conditions only. Any
part of its snow or sand fences which also serves the first and
more regular use of fencing right of way, and is not in addition
to regular right of way fencing at that point, is considered reg-
ular fence, and its maintenance is not charged here.

13. Signals and Interlocking Plants. Every railroad has
some form of mechanical signals for communicating with moving
trains. Being mechanically operated and located at fixed points,
their action is more precise and reliable than any hand signals.
The installations are of every variety : Some are mere manually-


operated, simple semaphore signals in control of the station
agent at train-order points, and having no mechanical connec-
tion with the tracks; others are automatic signals, or elab-
orate installations, mechanically interlocked with the tracks they
control and with signals controlling opposing combinations, so
that conflicting movements are mechanically impossible.

To perform such service in large and complex terminals
involves a plant of levers, communicating mechanism, power gen-
erators of boiler, engine and dynamo; air compressors, and a
building called a "tower" to house the whole; these in their
entirety constitute the interlocking plant.

Such performance also requires an installation of signals
that convert the mechanical movements which are communicated
from the levers in the tower to the signal post or signal bridge
over the track, into visible instructions to the engineman on the
locomotive. Block, automatic ' and semi-automatic signals are
carried to a sub-class by themselves because they represent a
general system of signals controlling line of road train move-
ment as distinguished from miscellaneous home and distant sig-
nals, train order and flag station signals.

Finally, the signal service requires the signal post or bridge
on which the signal is carried, and the bonding of rails to perfect
the track circuits.

The expense charged against the " Signals and Interlocking
Plant" is all direct expense for labor, material, special tools
and supplies applied to their maintenance. Signals, apparently,
are considered a highly specialized phase of the railroad main-
tenance because the salary, office and travelling expenses (except
stationery and printing, presumably) of the entire signal engi-
neer corps are charged to this account, and not left in " Super-
intendence " as in the case of " Bridges."

The plant is maintained by this account, but operated by a
Transportation account. To the operating account, therefore,
and not here, are carried the cost of the fuel, rent of sources of


water supply, cost of oil for power and lubrication. But the
salting of the switches which are closely engaged with the inter-
locking mechanism is a charge to the M. of W. and S. account
of " Removal of Snow, Sand and Ice," because it is a cost
imposed by weather conditions.

Repairs to interlocking, block and other signal systems,
including their elevation or depression and the cost of changing
connections or locations of semaphores and x>ther signals, during
the progress of betterment work are chargeable to this account.

14. Telegraph and Telephone Lines. A system of instan-
taneous communication between all points of a railroad is indis-
pensable to railroad operation, primarily for the purposes of
train movement, and next for efficient administration. The tele-
graph and telephone together or interchangeably form such a

The telegraph service as found on the railroad to-day is a
joint undertaking of the railroad and telegraph company per-
forming a double service, of " company business " and " com-
mercial business." Although details may differ, the general basis
of the arrangement is the same on all roads, hence the account
specifies the maintenance of " lines owned by a carrier or for
which it is responsible."

The company uses the telegraph (or the telephone) for train
orders and for ordinary rush communications. The distinction
between the expense of despatching and of transmitting ordi-
nary messages is made in the " Transportation Expenses," but
the M. of W. and S. account includes the maintenance of all
telegraph installations and offices, whether despatchers' or ordi-
nary operators', for which the railroad is responsible.

The plant maintained is the wire or cable, the supporting
structure of poles, cross arms, or of conduits, with their insu-
lators; the battery jars in which the current is generated, the
switchboard by which the circuits are manipulated, the instru-
ments (telegraph or telephone) by which the messages are


sent and received. From a simple Morse key, the instrument
has come to include a telephone, a typewriter telegraph, or a

Maintenance is the upkeep in working order of the lines,
switches, connections, instruments and generators, but the actual
supplying of electric current is a Transportation expense,
because it is directly related to daily use.

Telegraph and telephone lines are a part of the fixed type
of the road, hence charges for stationery and printing or injuries
to persons which may be incurred, go to the general M. of W.
and S. accounts of these designations; but the special tools or
the cost of telegraph superintendents and their staffs are specific
to the telegraph and telephone lines and are not charged respect-
ively to " Roadway Tools " and " Superintendence."

This account includes labor and material (less salvage) and
the cost of work-train service used, which is made to include the
work train, wages, fuel, oil, lanterns for the time used, but not
the maintenance of the work train, which is a charge to M. of E.

Salaries and expenses of officials dividing their time between
the maintenance and the operation of the plant, are apportioned
equally between M. of W. and S. and Transportation Expense
under the " Telephone and Telegraph " account.

Telephone and telegraph lines perform practically the same
kind of work in two different ways ; part of the plant is actually
common to both and the skill, material and supplies used in the
parts not common to both, are closely similar and greatly unlike
the skill, material and supplies used in any other form of rail-
road maintenance except the power generation and transmission
systems. For these reasons they together form a classification
under M. of W. and S.

An additional telephone or telegraph line, or an additional
wire on an existing pole line or an improvement in the quality
of a wire by substitution of a new wire for an inferior wire, are
Additions and Betterments, " Telegraph and Telephone Lines,"


and not charged to this account : provided such work amounts to
as much as $200.

Comment: In recognizing improved quality as betterment
the I. C. C. classification violates the contrary principle laid
down with reference to rail, ties and ballast.

15. Electric Power Transmission. The substitution of a
single power generating plant for many complete independent
power units (steam locomotives) scattered over the line, has
called into use a transmission system, from the generating point
to the moving units or trains up and down the road. In order
to reduce leakage, the power is transmitted in the form of high
tension alternating current. At or near the point where the
power is used the current is stepped down through a trans-
former to the voltage of the motor which pulls the train. In
case the motors operate on direct current, the current is at the
same time converted from alternating to direct. It is then,
under either method, delivered to the shoe of the motor by a
local transmission system of feed lines and third rail or trolley
wires. The wires from the generating station to the sub-station
and from the sub-station to shoe of the motor, with the third
rail, are the electric power transmission system. With the wires
are included the supporting structures of poles, cross-arms,
brackets, bonding of the rails; safety and insulating devices;
facilities for manipulating the circuits and the current (when
outside of the power-house or sub-station), as switchboards,
switches, cutouts and transformers. When in power-house and
sub-stations, these appliances are a part of the " Power Plant
Equipment " and their maintenance is charged to the M. of E.
account under that head.

This account provides for the expense in labor and material
(less salvage) used in repairing and renewing the appliances
described. The labor is the direct wage expense of electricians,
mechanics and other employees when employed in repairing and
renewing electric power transmission lines. The electric engi-


neers' expense is not specified but is presumably classed with
other M. of W. and S. expense under " Superintendence." With
these expenses is also included the work-train expense of wages
and supplies for work-train service that may have been used in
the maintenance of the transmission system.

Additional systems for the electric transmission of power
and the' " excess cost of improved transmission lines, over the
cost of replacing in kind property of like purpose abandoned "
are classed as Additions and Betterments.

1 6. Buildings, Fixtures and Grounds. A railroad's business
is hauling loaded trains. The vast volume of secondary opera-
tions, in last analysis, is devoted to this physical result. These
secondary operations include the incidental services in connec-
tion with the haul, and the auxiliary processes by which the
primary function of making the loaded haul is performed. These
auxiliary processes involve men and machinery which must be

Housing expense is primarily upkeep, and this upkeep
against wear, accident, weather, physical age and obsolescence
is different-Jrom the upkeep of other things, as roadbed and
bridges, against some of the same factors in different combina-
tions. Therefore, in the general function performed, on the one
hand, and in the condition determining their maintenance
expense, on the other hand, the housing structures form a valid
class by themselves. These housing structures are bulked
under the designation, " Buildings, Fixtures and Grounds."
To the buildings that strictly " house " are added detached sta-
tion platforms or milk platforms, which are places of deposit
rather than shelter. The idea is further extended to include a
class of structures which serve as distributing supply depots,
such as coaling chutes, water stations, and water troughs. The
notion is carried yet one stage further to include structures
operated directly in connection with these buildings, as track
scales and mail cranes, turntables and drop pits.


The account includes the expense of maintenance of the
above described housing structures along the right of way
(docks, wharves and buildings of interlocking plants are
exempted), incidental to the railroads' operation. These, unlike
bridges, snowsheds, signals and interlocking plants, are not an
integral part of the roadway over which the trains move. Docks
and wharves are not included because they are not " houses."
Buildings upon the docks and wharves, however, are included
because they are " houses."

The structures which come under the description given are
first, the terminal facilities for handling, equipping and des-
patching the train, as, the roundhouse, coal chute, water sta-
tion, oil house, air and gas compressor houses, car cleaners' shed,
sand house, turntable, watchman's box, yard telegrpah office,
and power house. They are next, the buildings used for receiv-
ing, delivering, transferring and storing freight, mail, milk, and
express, and for the accommodation of passengers. These build-
ings are freight and passenger stations, baggage rooms, coal
storage grounds, coal pockets, and (when not outside opera-
tions) elevators, stock pens, track scales. They are next, the
buildings incidental to the work of maintenance of the rolling
stock and the roadway, as shops, roundhouses, storehouses,
pumping, section and tool houses, and division offices. Finally,
they are the buildings used by those who secure the traffic, and
those who have the general administration of the property.

Any buildings which produce a direct revenue of their own
which is not included in railroad operating revenues are not
maintained at the expense of this account because their par*
ticular expense should be made to offset their particular revenue.
Such structures of Outside Operations would be eating houses,
hotels, stock pens, grain elevators, ice houses, cold storage plants,
and other buildings when intended to be on a self-sustaining

Maintenance of "Buildings" includes the maintenance of


excavation, foundation, stairways and approaches, station sub-
ways, and station overhead footbridges, and of installations for
the protection of the buildings against fire, tide, washouts, as
water mains and fire plugs, fire engines, hose, hose carts, pay-
ments to municipalities or others for fire protection, break-
waters, walls and embankments, and signs on the building.

The building to be maintained, in addition to its essential
parts and the special installations to protect it, includes the fix-
tures and machinery that equip it for general use. The line
between fixtures whose maintenance is a part of the maintenance
of the building, and mere furniture which is an office expense,
is necessarily arbitrary. But the general principle of the dis-
tinction is that an article specially designed for that particular
building or a limited number of its class, that could have little
or no use elsewhere, or that is fitted to the building so that it
could not easily be removed and adapted to other uses, is a
fixture. All other articles which are not supplies are furniture.
The line is drawn at that point because the fixtures or attach-
ments .are jnore or less inseparable from the building: their life
corresponds in a measure with the life of the building, and their
usefulness must be consumed with it. Many of the fixtures are
in the doubtful region between those things that are of definitely
direct consumption, such as supplies or small articles of furni-
ture, and those things that serve a long use as a fixed property.
Illustrations of fixtures would be bunkers, counters, file cases,
wash-bo wis, water-coolers, when 'built in as part of the structure.

The machinery included as a part of the building is the
machinery that serves general uses (except that if the building
is merely a structure and highly specialized to one use, as, for
instance, in coal chutes or water stations, the special machinery
in such cases would go with the structure as an integral part).
Machinery for manufacture or repair is not for the general uses
of the building in which it is placed, and therefore the founda-
tion only, or the framework only which carries the shafting, is


considered a part of the building, and all of the machinery above
the foundation constitutes a plant of " Shop Machinery and
Tools," which is maintained under an account of that name in
the M. of E. expense block. In illustration of the distinction
described, a boiler for heating purposes is for general uses, and
its maintenance is charged to " Buildings, Fixtures and
Grounds." But a boiler to run a shop engine is " Shop Tools
and Machinery."

Maintenance includes the repairs and renewals of the entire
structure or parts of it; painting, glazing, papering and deco-
rating, which essentially differ from the occupancy expense of
cleaning, because their effects last longer. It includes cleaning
of snow from roofs because this is a condition of upkeep imposed
by weather and not use, although the effect is transient. A part
of the maintenance expense of a building is the expense of its
removal when superseded, which is the restoration of the status
quo before the building was in use. Cost of additional land for
buildings when chargeable to expense, is lodged here.

The maintenance expense includes the direct labor and direct
supervision, and material (less salvage) and other like expense.
Work-train expense is charged where it is used, and includes the
incidental wages and supplies, but not the maintenance of the
equipment used.

With the buildings is included the accessories called
" Grounds." These are terracing, wells, streets, sewers, reser-
voirs, fencing between tracks (because incidental to station use
and not roadway), and fencing around grounds; parking of
lawns; trees, shrubs, flower beds, driveways, ponds and orna-
mental walks. Maintenance of grounds is defined as " the lay-
ing out, cleaning (except ordinary cleaning performed by sta-
tion cleaners), grading, draining, mowing and beautifying" of
the grounds. Such work is the maintenance (except that the
laying out, grading and draining, if extensive, are Additions and
Betterments) against weather conditions, corresponding to like


maintenance of roadway. But sprinkling of streets about build-
ings is not maintenance because it is the current restoration
account of wear, like the scrubbing of the floor. Cost of restor-
ing grounds after betterment work is charged to Operating

If any of the above work is paid for by special tax assess-
ment, the nature of the charge is the same as if the work had
been performed directly.

Frequently railroads develop a special staff and plant of nur-
series to care for station grounds. Such departments are not a
part of the fixed type of railroad operation, so all their outlays
are absorbed in this account " 'Grounds " as a current expense.

On the theory that a water station is a " building/' the signal
light at the end of a water trough is charged to this account. It
has been ruled that planks laid at the track side for convenience
of passengers alighting are " station buildings," although there
may be no station at that point (Case 554).

Cqmmgjit^^This account is altogether too inclusive. It
should be first subdivided according to the general uses which
the buildings serve, and next according to certain broad classi-
fications of type of construction. M. of W. and S. should pri-
marily include only the maintenance of those structures which
are directly used in performing the services of transportation.
Buildings that house the shop^ operations or administrative
forces serve a secondary purpose. The burden of their main-
tenance should be borne by the use which they serve. A classi-
fication which places in the same category the maintenance of
the masonry of a stone building and its foundation with tfye
maintenance of the plumbing of a fountain that plays in the
shop grounds, or the maintenance of a hothouse (of glass) that
grows complimentary nosegays for passengers can hardly be
construed to serve any other purpose than the making of fan-
tastic totals of figures.

17. Docks and Wharves. The railroad is carried on road-


bed or bridge. When one of the termini of the roadway (or
section of the through line) abuts on a waterfront with facilities
for transferring the traffic to boats, the structure over which the
transfer is made is designated " Docks and Wharves." This
structure may be a simple stringpiece, or it may be an extensive
wharf covered with a shed, and fitted with all the appliances
for transshipment. Broadly speaking, " Docks and Wharves "
is the entire plant of water-way or berth called " dock " ; and
of " wharf," including substructure and superstructure (but not
the track, nor the buildings on the wharves, nor their machinery
and appliances for transferring freight). The track is excepted
from the wharf structure on which it is laid, upon the theory
that it is performing the regular function of track in the same
way as if it were on the open roadway, or in tunnels, or at ter-
minals other than docks and wharves.

The ferry slips, transfer bridges and pontoons are a part
of the plant of docks and wharves because of their special char-
acter. With these structures and the dock (berthing slip) are
included all devices for the protection of the structure, or the
channel in the slip, such as crib work, racks, or caissons, or
guard piling to protect from damage by drift or ice.

Maintenance includes repairs and renewals of the structures
described. The maintenance is against weather, erosion, damage
by ice 'or drift, clogging of channel in and out of the slip by
deposits of sand or mud. The expense of this maintenance
includes the primary cost of material less salvage, and also the
pay of supervisor of docks, whose services are special to this
class of structure and therefore not included in the class of
" Superintendence."

Work train expense for wages and supplies incurred by use
of work train in and about docks and wharves, is a charge to this

A transfer or float bridge is that part of the Docks and
Wharves plant by which the railroad makes delivery to the con-


necting water carrier. Its track is handled like the track of the
wharf proper.

1 8. Roadway Tools and Supplies. A tools account specially
illustrates the principle on which the classification of expenses
is constructed. In doing a number of different things there
arises the need for some incidental accessory which meets in turn
the requirements of each of the things done, all in general but
no one in particular. This accessory comes to be a regular
feature of doing these things. It becomes therefore a fixed inci-
dent and is set up as a definite objective, although it is merely
the means to a further set of results. Accordingly it is put
into a permanent expense account.

This tools account includes those tools and supplies that are
not special for any one service. The large tools called " Work
Equipment/ 7 such as work cars of all kinds pulled by power,
pile drivers, snow plows, steam shovels, wrecking cars, etc., are
withdrawn from tne roadway tools because they are larger and
not of so miscellaneous a character, and therefore can be and
should be followed closely. The line between tools and the
larger implements called "Work Equipment" seems to be
drawn by classing those contrivances which ride on the rail
and are moved by locomotives as "Work Equipment," and the
others as " Tools." Thus the hand-car, push-car and velocipede
move on the rail but are not propelled by the locomotive and are
counted as " Roadway Tools," and the pile driver not on cars
and therefore not riding on the rails is also a " Roadway Tool,"
but the steam shovel or the gravel car, moving on the rails and
propelled by train power, is "Work Equipment." It has been
ruled that a small motor inspection car classifies not as a pas-
senger train car but as "Roadway Tools" (Case 464).

" Supplies " differ from tools in the respect that they are
consumed with a single use, whereas tools can be used very many

Online LibraryJames Shirley EatonHandbook of railroad expenses → online text (page 7 of 52)