Walter Chadwick Noyes.

American railroad rates online

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pense may seem entirely unreasonable to the shipper. A rate which
leaves the shipper a satisfactory profit over cost of production may
seem unreasonable to the railroad. A reasonable rate between the two
standards may be unreasonable from the point of view of both carrier
and shipper.



Grouping articles into classes for the purpose
of making rates would be convenient if the basis
of charges were cost of service. Some goods cost
more to handle than others. There is a difference
in risk attending different shipments. A separate
rate for each commodity between each two railroad
stations would involve great labor and produce
confusion. Still, the elements which enter into cost
are comparatively simple. Railroad business could
undoubtedly be carried on upon a cost basis with-
out classification. The difHculties would not be
insuperable. But the principle of charging accord-
ing to the value of the service compels classifica-
tion. If the same service have a varying value
when rendered to different commodities, classifica-
tion is absolutely necessary. In seeking to impose
charges where they can best be borne, the controlling
considerations are so complicated that it is manifest
that separate rates could not be fixed for each of
thousands of different items of traffic. An average
must be struck. A practicable method must be
provided for the operation of the value principle.


Classification is the machinery required in " charging
what the traffic will bear."

The classification and the tariff of rates are in-
terdependent. Classification is a means of making a
rate. It fulfils no purpose in itself. The tariff is
the necessary complement of the classification. The
one is useless without the other.

We saw in our examination of underlying princi-
ples that the practice of basing rates upon the value
of the service had its origin in the custom Deveiop-
of the old English canals to collect tolls Sa"sifica-
according to a rough classification which *i°"-
imposed the heaviest tolls upon the most valuable
goods. Thus the schedule of tolls of the Sheffield
canal, made in 1815, was as follows:


Per ton

per mile.

For all coal, doke, charcoal, limestone, ironstone,
slag, sand, arsura, sweep-washing-waste, stones, slates,
payors, cord-wood, cinders, manure, bones for manure,
turnips, carrots, and potatoes id.

For all pig-lead, pig-iron, ballast, nut or bushel-iron,
old cast-iron, bricks, old ropes and rags, timber un-
broken, bones and hoofs 3^.

For all bar, rod or rolled iron or steel, cast-iron
goods, deals and other broken timber, lime, onions,
apples, pears, peas, beans, rope, line, cole, mustard-
seed, and all kinds of green groceries that are not by
this Act specially charged by name 4

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Online LibraryWalter Chadwick NoyesAmerican railroad rates → online text (page 5 of 17)