Railroad Commission of Indiana.

Annual report of the Railroad Commission of Indiana online

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position shall come to full stop before passing signal and then proceed

under control.

Second. On single track railroad, a train upon finding signal In stop

position shall come to full stop before passing signal and at once send flag-

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man ahead, the train may then proceed through the block under protec-
tion of the flagman.

It is further Ordered, That the Secretary shall transmit a copy of this
order to each of the railroad companies effected by It and that Tuesday,
the 7th day of December, 1909, at 10 :00 a. m., be set down as the time when
the Commission will hear any objections or any requests for changes or
modifications of this order.

Pursuant to this order the conference called took place at the
rooms of the Commission on December 9, 1909. There were present
for the Commission

William J. Wood, chairman,

Henry M. Dowling and John P. MeClure, commissioners.

And there were present for the railroad companies the fol-

B. & O. S. W.—

W. H. Brimson, general superintendent, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Edward Barton, general attorney, Cincinnati, Ohio.

C, C, 0. & St. L.—

Li. J. Hackney, general counsel, Cincinnati, Ohio.

J. Q. Van Winkle, general manager, Cincinnati, Ohio.

C. S. Rhoads, superintendent telegraph, Indianapolis, Ind.

L. S. Rose, signal engineer, Cincinnati, Ohio.

H. F. Houghton, general superintendent, Indianapolis, Ind.
C, H. & D.—

J. M. Scott, superintendent, Indianai>olis, Ind.

John B. Elam, attorney, Indianapolis, Ind.
O. & E.—

H. O. Dunkle, general superintendent, Cleveland, Ohio.

E. C. Allen, superintendent, Huntington, Ind.

A. H. Mansfield, division operator, Huntington, Ind.
C, I. ft S.—

H. A. Zlesel, superintendent, Kankakee, 111.

R. B. Seymour, chief engineer. Gibson Loike County, Ind.
C. & B. I.—

J. C. Mulr, superintendent, Danville, 111.

L. C. Hartley, signal engineer, Chicago, 111.

E. H. SenefT, general attorney, Chicago, 111.
E. & T. H.—

J. O. Crockett, general superintendent, Evansville, Ind.
G. R. ft I.—

J. H. P. Hughart, vice-president and general manager, Grand
Rapids, Mich.

E. H. Barnes, chief engineer, Grand Rapids, Mich.

J. II. Campbell, general counsel, Grand Rapids. Mich.
L. S. ft M. S.—

N. D. Doughman, general counsel, Cleveland, Ohio.

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L. E. & W.—

H. A. Boomer, general superinteiuleul, ludianapolis, Ind.

J. B. Cockrum, general attorney, Indianaimlis, lud.
N. Y. C. & St. L.—

Judge Walter Olds, general counsel, F"t. Wayne, Ind.

E. E. Hart, chief engineer, Cleveland, Ohio.
Pennsylvania Lines,
P., C, C. & St. L.,
Vandalia —

J. G. Williams, general counsel, Indianapolis. Ind.

S. O. Pickens, general counsel, Indianai>olis, Ind.

W. McC. Grafton, signal engineer. Pittsburg, Pa.

K. E. McC'arty, general superintendent, southwest, Columbu.s, Ohio.

.1. W. (\meys, superintendent, Indianapolis, Ind.
T., St. L. & W.—

D. A. Kluniph, train master, Frankfort, Ind.
Wabash —

O. C. Kinsman, superintendent telegrai)h, Decatur, 111.

And at the conference the following? proceedings took place :

Chairman Wood: Gentlemen, on March 9, 1907, the act to pro-
mote the safety of passengers, employes and property in this State
by requiring steam railroads, whose annual income from operation
was $7,500 or more per mile, to equip their lines with an approved
block system for the control of train movements thereon was ap-
proved. This act was passed in view of such block systems as were
then in operation and was remedial in its nature, and was intended
to prescribe such approved systems as would accomplish the pur-
pose of the act as set out in its caption.

On August 12, 1907, this Commission issued its circular letter
No. 16, calling the attention of the companies to the act, stating
that **its purpose was to remedy existing conditions and dangers
and not to postpone the institution of block signals to the time limit
mentioned in the statute,'' and directing the companies affected
**to commence as early as possible to comply with the act."

Afterwards the companies generally petitioned the Commission,
on account of the falling off in business and revenue, to postpone
the time for the installation of block signals to July 1, 1910, as the
act provided might be done; and the Commission, recognizing the
then existing conditions of business, and in order that this impor-
tant matter might receive full consideration and the best and most
practical systems might be adopted which the business and different
conditions of the respective lines required, granted the petitions
and postponed to July 1, 1910. the final installation and operation
of these sisals.

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On November 10, 1908, the Commission, in accordance with its
policy of information in this regard, was fortunate in having all
the division superintendents of steam railroads in this State in con-
vention to hear a most excellent and practical address from Captain
Azel Ames, who was at that time the chief signal oflBcer of the New
York Central lines and also the chief adviser of the Block Signal
and Train Control Board of the Interstate Commerce Commission.
Among many good suggestions Captain Ames said that **the rail-
roads had suffered a money loss last year of $15,000,000 damage
to equipment, rolling stock and permanent way from derailments
alone ;'* and referring to the more serious loss of life, he affirmed
that the principal instrumentality for ** curing certain of our rail-
road troubles is the block system. In any block system,'' he af-
firmed, **two things are fundamental and necessary, first, means
for giving instructions or information to the enginemen as to the
use of his block, and second, means for assuring ourselves that the
information given is correct and sufficiently complete."

In applying these principles the speaker said it was his belief
that the Railroad Commission of Indiana would not demand of the
companies **a great, complicated and elaborate system of block sig-
nalling. They are after safety.''

Captain Ames made some definitions and general estimates
which are useful here. **The block signal system," he said, **most
used in this country is the ordinary telegraph block in which sema-
phore signals are operated directly by a signalman upon the basis
of information received by telegraph." Such a system can be in-
stalled for about $200 a mile and maintained for $15 a mile, while
the automatic system would cost about $1,000 a mile for installation
and $325 per mile a year for maintenance.

Captain Ames proceeded: **Now with our telegraph block sys-
tem we are entirely dependent on the man, and any one man or any
one of several men making an error may cause a train to be im-
properly admitted into a block. Because of a man's failures in
connection with the telegraph block system, attempts to improve it
have been made so as to absolutely require the cooperation of two
or more men to clear a signal to allow a train to enter a block.
Such systems are called controlled manual block systems, and they
are generally installed by placing an electric lock on the signal
lever, having the electrio lock energized by a circuit which is con-
trolled at both ends of the block. "

In this address Captain Ames made an important assertion as
to local conditions. He said **that about 40 per cent of the rail-

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roads reporting to the Interstate Commerce Commission are block
signalled, but that in Indiana only 22 per cent were block signalled,
so that the State of Indiana is behind the average of the country,'*
and finally Captain Ames impressibly ^iBrmed as follows: **Gten-
tlemen, I believe today that signalling has ceased to be a mechanical
or electrical or engineering problem and has become an economic
and sociological and human one, and the quicker we realize this the

In May, 1909, the Commission retained the services of Mr. M. H.
Hovey, who is connected with the Block Signal and Train Control
Board of the Interstate Commerce Commission, and comes to us
highly recommended as an authority on this subject. Mr. Hovey
is familiar with the general railroad conditions in this State, and
has the experience of having equipped a division of railroad in an.
adjoining State with block signals, and on May 20, 1909, made a
report to us with conclusion as follows :

** Having examined the files and plans submitted to me, and
from any knowledge of general conditions in this State, I am of the
opinion that the controlled manual system, without track circuit,
would for the present time fulfill the requirements on the majority
of the roads in this State. The cost of installing this system will
be less than that of any of the others, and could be so installed that
the track circuits could be added later, provided conditions change
so as to require them.

The approximate cost of the various systems is as follows :

Automatic block system, per mile, for double track $1,000

Manual block system, per mile, for single track 1,200

Manual controlled block system, without track circuit, per mile 200

Manual controlled block system, with shot track circuit, per mile. . . . 250
Manual controlled block system, with complete track circuit, per mile 400

The figures given above are only approximate, and wiU vary in
different cases from 25 per cent to 50 per cent, depending upon the
kinds of material used and local conditions, such as length of
blocks, etc.

On July 19, 1909, the Commission issued its circular letter No.
44, directing the companies to submit on or before November 1,
1909, such block systems as are proposed by them to be maintained
or installed on their respective lines. On considering the plans that
have been filed with the Commission and after further consultation
with our expert and our inspectors, on November 24, 1909, we made
the order which will now be read and which is now to be further
considered after this hearing as to its final adoption or modification.

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It has been observed, of course, that the Commission has not
intended any preference as to whether the automatic or manual
block systems shall be used. It will be generally satisfied with
either form; only as many carriers as shall use the cheaper form
which Mr, Hovey advised will be suflScient for the present for most
of our single track railroads. The main feature of our order stipu-
lates for a controlled manual instead of a telegraph block. As to
some main simple rules of operation, we desire an absolute block in
all cases for passenger trains, and whenever it is practically possible
for freight trains.

Our tentative conclusions are now before you. We shall call
the roll of carriers affected by the act, and after hearing from them
we expect to speedily announce our final decision so that the work
may be completed by July 1, 1910.

Now, gentlemen, we understand for the first time this morning
that the question of the authority of the Commission to approve and
to adopt block systems is to be raised, and I am very sure I speak
for my associates as well as myself that we do not care to exercise
authority not conferred on us. Perhaps we had better have the
order read at this time. Mr. Dowling, will you please read the

(Mr. Dowling reads.)

Railroad Commission of Indiana.

In the Matter of Approval of Block Systems Submitted by Certain Steam

Railroad Companies to the Commission as Required by

Circular No. 44.

The carriers affected by the "Act to promote safety of passengers, em-
ployes and property in transportation over railroads by steam," the same
being Chapter 205, Acts of 1907, having filed with the Commission their
plans and devices for block signalling as directed by our circular No. 44,
and the Commission having taken expert advice and having investigated
block signalling and having fully considered the same:

It is Ordered, That the telegraph or manual block commonly in use on
railroads in this State does not fulfill the requirements of the law, and that
either the controlled manual or the automatic block signal system shall
hereafter be used In this State.

It is further Ordered, That every steam railroad In this .State, whose
gross annual income from operation Is seventy-five hundred ($7,600) dollars
or more per mile of line, shall on or before the 1st day of July, 1910, have
Its railroad equipped with either the controlled manual or automatic block
signal system. It is understood that the controlled manual requires Joint
action of the operators at each end of the block, this to be accomplished
by the use of electrical mechanism whereby the operator at the opposite
end of the block locks the signal until the block Is known to be clear.

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,t 236

It is further Ordeied, That each of the said railroad companies shall,
on or before the 1st day of January, 1910, file with the Commission final
plans showing In detail the system which It now maintains, or which it
proposes to install, said system and plans in every respect to comply with
the stipulations and directions of this order. '

It is further Ordered, That with the controlled manual blocic system,
the following rules shall be enforced :

First. Each block opei*ator shall keep a block record, showing the
number and kind of each train entering the block and the time of entering
and departing; this record to give such other information as may be re-
quired for the proper oi)eration of the block system, such as name of the
block operator, the time of going on and off duty, etc., etc., etc., the form
to be used for this record to be submitted to the Commission for approval.

Second. Absolute block for passenger trains shall be maintained.

Third. Absolute block for freight trains shall be maintained, except
in cases where the conditions will permit of permissible blocking ; railroads
desiring to use the permissible blocking of freight trains shall file applica-
tion for permit with the Commission not later than the 1st day of January,
1910, to be accompanied by plans and such data as may be required to fully
inform the Commission as to existing conditions in each block where per-
missible blocking is desired.

With the automatic block the following rules shall be enforced :

First. On double track railroads, a train ui)on finding signal in stop
I>osition shall come to full stop before passing signal and then proceed
under control. •

Second. On single track railroads, a train upon finding signal In stop
position shall come to a full stop before passing signal and at once send
flagman ahead. The train may then proceed through the block under pro-
tection of the flagman.

It is further Ordered, That the secretary shall transmit a copy of this
order to each of the railroad companies affected by it and that Thursday,
the 9th day of December, 1909, at 10:0() a. m., be set down as the time
when the Commission will hear any objections or any requests for changes
or modifications of this order.

Chairman Wood: Now, if the question is to be raised as to
whether or not it is within the power of the Commission to issue the
order. We have tentatively considered that act to mean that the
Commission has the power to approve a block system submitted by
the carriers, and we have indicated in this order our general ideas
about what such system should be. Now, if our authority is ques-
tioned we would be glad to hear any of you upon that point and
submit the matter, if necessary, to the attorney-general. Judge
Williams, let us hear from you first.

Judge Williams: Well, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I as-
sume that the Commission felt that under the law they had the
power to establish a standard system of block, and my suggestion

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was simply that I did not believe I would consider it that way. I
did not regard that as so very material because I felt that it could
be shown to you that, even if you did have the power, you were ex-
ercising it in a way that did not meet with our approval nor could
not meet with our cooperation. Of course, it is important from a
legal standpoint to know whether you have the power, and you do
not know whether you have the power.

Chairman Wood : We feel like we have it.

Judge Williams: And I think that jou will find that not only
the lines I represent but all the other lines in the State will not hold
back from cooperating with you in any reasonable way to promote
safety. I believe they want to do that; I know the Pennsylvania
lines do, and they w^ant to do it to any extent that is reasonable, but
they do not feel that in this case you are requiring them to do what
you ought to require. In the general order the Legislature made
a classification upon a basis of gross earnings per mile ; that is the
only classification the Legislature made — any railroad having a
gross annual income from operation of seventy-five hundred
($7,500) dollars or more per mile of line, to be determined from its
last preceding annual report to the Railroad Commission. The
Legislature appreciated that that classification was crude, imper-
fect, unsatisfactory, and with that end in view, with that idea in
view, they committed to this board large discretion in the way of
mitigating the rigor of that absolute test or classification. They
did not give to you the power of increasing the rigor. You were
permitted to do three things. First, to extend the time for a year.

Chairman Wood: Which we did.

Judge Williams: Yes, sir, and we appreciate it. Second, to
exempt from the law branch or spur lines ; third, the power to ab-
solutely suspend the law in its operation as to any road when you
became satisfied that the train movement over that line of road was
not sufficient to recjuire the block signal system and that it could be
operated without any system of that kind without any substantial
hazard to life and property. That was a very large power given
you, to mitigate the law, and it showed conclusively that the Legis-
lature appreciated that the seventy-five hundred dollar gross earn-
ing per mile test as a basis of classification was not all that was to
be said upon that question ; in other words, that there must be a
further classification of the roads based upon train movement.
There is no danger of collision if there are no train movements.

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There is no danger of injury to life and property unless two trains
come together, and if you only have one train a day on the road ;
if you have two, the danger may be slightly increased ; it progresses
with the number of trains operated over the road within any speci-
fied time.

Chairman Wood : If you only had three trains, or four or five
or six I do not think we would want to enforce that order.

Judge Williams: Now, there are roads in this State earning
$7,500 a mile ; there are roads earning probably $45,000 to $50,000
per mile ; but take the Vandalia, for instance, with which I am fa-
miliar; our Vincennes division is within the classification of the
law, $7,500 gross earnings per mile; our St. Louis division earns
between $25,000 and $30,000 per mile between here and the Illinois
state line. Now, would the Commission say that you are going to
establish an absolute standard for every road between $7,500 and
$25,000 (and more) per mile, and gauge them all up to the same
basis? You must necessarily understand that the train movement
on our St. Louis division is vastly in excess of the train movement
on our Vincennes division, and I cannot appreciate why you should
fix a standard that would bring the Vincennes division up to the
standard of the St. Louis division. That is what this order will do.
You are bringing up the lowest grade road to the standard that you
require of the highest grade road, and I do not think you will claim
that is a reasonable basis. The Pennsylvania lines west of Pitts-
burg have lines that earn $45,000 per mile, while they have lines
that earn considerably less; do you think they should be gauged up
to the same standard 1

Chairman Wood: ^Ir. Coneys, what is the train movement on
your line ?

Mr. Coneys : Average twenty-two trains a day both ways.

Judge Williams : We have in all eighteen passenger trains on
our St. Louis division. You will not bring the St. Louis division
up to the standard of roads above that, will you, when you come to
think about it, now? We want to cooperate with you on a fair
basis. We want to do for each road what is sufficient for that road
and not what is sufficient for some much greater, more powerful,
richer, more important road, and where safety becomes more a mat-
ter of importance because of the enormous difference in train move-
ment. You remember in old mythology a gentleman who reigned
over some territory not as big, I guess, as the State of Indiana, who

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had a rule like this: Any man who came traveling through his
territory — he had a bed, and any man who came through his terri-
tory he put him on that bed ; if he fit it exactly he let him go ; if
he was too short he had him stretched and pulled until he became
the right length to fit the bed ; if he was too long he trimmed him
down so as to make him fit the bed. (Laughter.)

I do not think that standard is the one that ought to be followed
in this connection. I do not think you ought to make a standard
bed and apply that test to every road. Let us have an examination,
if you please, of each road on its merit and apply a standard to that
road which you think and they think, on what you find from in-
vestigation, is fair; relatively fair, you cannot make it perfect.
Now, another thought ; the Interstate Commerce Commission, under
direction of Congress, is investigating, as you know, the block sig-
nal question. Not just as a matter of academic information, but
the money has been appropriated and the investigation is being
made for the purpose of having Congress adopt a block signal sys-
tem for interstate carriers. I suggest that it would hardly seem
right for this board to establish a standard, make us come up to it
and then to have Congress come along in a year and do something
entirely difl'erent which will afl'ect all of us practically. I do npt
know a road in the State of Indiana that could not be reached by
this ever-expanding and ever-widening power of Congress over in-
terstate commerce.

They are doing it and it is being upheld by the courts, and I
would not like to have our properties standardized by the Commis-
sion of Indiana and then in a year or so go through another process
of being standardized by Congress. This Commission ought to give
some consideration to that situation.

Another suggestion. If the Commission has been so fortunate
as to find the standard, the controlled manual block, which they
think should be adopted, they have reached a frame of mind which
is not enjoyed by the practical operating men of railroads. I have
been told that this controlled manual, which seems so far to have
met with the favor of the Commission, is in use on only three per
cent of the mileage of the roads of the United States. I think you
will find that the mileage on which it is used is insignificant. Op-
posed to it you will find a system of block signalling in use on
standard roads, many of the more important roads, with a minimum
of accidents from collisions. The New York Central lines, Penn-
sylvania lines, the Monon, C. & E. I. — all of these roads have sue-

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cessfuUy used systems that they now have in use, that have been
approved by long use.

Chairman Wood: I think the C. & E. I. has the controlled
manual system in this State.

Judge Wiluams: The one that I had my attention called to
was the Chicago & Alton.

The people that I represent — the Pennsylvania lines w^est of
Pittsburg, the Vandalia — they do not want to have their trains col-
lide. If it was not even for the base money consideration, if that
did not enter into consideration at all, they would not want their
trains to collide. But money cuts no figure in the question of
safety. If you should find that this particular system was the only
system, the question of its costing more would not be considered.
But it is principally that we do not like it, to have a system that we
regard no better than we are using now with success, and have been
for years, we do not like to have that displaced for a system that
we do not think is as good, perhaps. I am not prepared to go into
details of the reasons why this system that you have adopted tenta-

Online LibraryRailroad Commission of IndianaAnnual report of the Railroad Commission of Indiana → online text (page 26 of 55)