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physical and traffic characteristics of the 160 Class 1 roads in federal control. And it was equally plain that some compromise might profitably be made between a policy of arbitrarily fixing a few types to meet all conditions and a policy of individuality and regard only for local needs. Two or three times the number of types prescribed by the Administration would probably save nearly all of the advantages of standardization and at the same time would give each road the opportunity to select a type or types which it could use without loss of efficiency.
The case for the standardization of the freight car is stronger. Locomotives ordinarily are confined in service to the rails of the owning company. Freight cars are used in common under car service rules and the per diem rules agreement. They are repaired (with certain exceptions) on the road where the need of the repairs develops. The average freight car of an individual road is at home not much more than one-half of the time. Obviously if there is a common standard for the types of car used for the great bulk of the interchanged traffic, each road will be required to carry a much smaller stock of repair parts, and there will be a reduction in the time now lost by cars which are held while the repairing road is obtaining parts of special design.
Yet here, as in the case of locomotives, local traffic characteristics have an important bearing. The granger roads have found it advisable to design their box cars with a special view to the requirements of the grain traffic which they originate. The roads serving the Michigan peninsula have found it necessary to consider the special requirements of automobile shipments. The railroads of Maine must look to the peculiar needs of the potato traffic. One type of box car cannot be ideal for all classes of traffic. Then, too, there is the debatable point of weight of frame and trucks. The standards of the Railroad Administration differed materially from those, for example, of the Southern Pacific. The Harriman Lines had been leaders in the movement toward standardization. Their freight car standards were the results of a very careful study of experts over a series of years. The officers of that com
. pany, therefore, quite naturally objected to the permanent acceptance of other standards prepared under war-time pressure by engineers whose qualifications were no greater than those of their own engineers and consultants.
The objections of the Southern Pacific are mentioned specifically because Chairman Kruttschnitt of that company, in discussing the subject with other railroad executives when the continuation of Railroad Administration standards was under consideration at the conclusion of federal control, made the point that the excess weight in the Railroad Administration standard box car over the Southern Pacific standard was not justified by traffic or engineering requirements, and that this excess weight meant a needless expense, not only in first cost, but also in train operating expenses because of the increase in the dead weight of the train.
ACCOUNTING AND STATISTICAL INNOVATIONS
HE transition from private to federal control, the separation of the accounts as
between the corporation and the Government, and the provisions of the contract between the Director General and the railroad companies, necessitated a great deal of additional accounting work. Shortly after federal control began, and before the separation was made between federal and corporate accounting forces, the railroads were instructed to keep two sets of accounts—one reflecting federal transactions, the other reflecting the affairs of the railroad company.
When the federal and corporate forces were split, the former was concerned only with the federal accounts; but very heavy additional burdens were placed upon the accounting department by the special accounts and statistics required by the Director General, the Division of Accounting, the Division of Capital Expenditures, and other departments of the Administration. In July, came still further burdens, from the order requiring the standardization of operating statistics in greater detail than had been customary on the majority of roads.
As an offset to these additional burdens, sev. eral innovations were ordered which had the effect of reducing the normal accounting requirements pertaining to inter-road transactions. Since the policies of unification, diversion of traffic, pooling of freight cars, and many other practises tended to destroy the normal relation of operating expenses to operating revenues of an individual road, several accounting short-cuts were authorized. While the diversion of traffic and the unification of facilities and equipment might distort the records of performance and earnings of an individual railroad, the Government was primarily interested in the net results for all of the roads as a national system. It was not particularly interested in the absolute accuracy of the accounts of an individual road as a unit or in its relation with other roads. It will be shown later that the operating efficiency of the individual units could be determined by the new system of operating statistics.
*General Order No. 17, April 3, 1918.
The first step in the simplification of revenue accounting was the adoption of the universal interline waybill.* The plan provided that all freight moving as through shipments over the rails of two or more railroads was to be billed through from point of origin to destination regardless of the absence of joint rates. This method eliminated a great deal of re-billing at junction points, reduced the delay to freight on that account, and simplified revenue accounting.
Then came the instructions* to discontinue the technical and arithmetical checking of bills as between roads in federal control. This change was meant to apply particularly to the tens of thousands of inter-road bills each month for freight claims, car repairs, equipment rents, joint facilities and the like, and the statements pertaining to the settlement of joint revenues on interline freight and passenger traffic. The billing road was enjoined to use care in the preparation of the bill and the debtor road was obliged to assume its technical and arithmetical accuracy. The next step** provided
provided simplified bases for the apportionment of interline freight revenue. Instead of continuing the former plan under which each road determined from the waybill records the balance due it from each road and the amount of its indebtedness to each road, the debitor credit balances as between roads were to be based on what were termed “road to road per cents." These per cents were to be computed for each route from the records of 1917. In effect the new plan provided for a division of joint freight revenues as between carriers in the same proportions that such revenues on interline freight traffic were divided in the year preceding federal control. Later on a short cut' was authorized for the simplification of interline passenger revenues.t
A further reduction in accounting work was authorized on June 121 when accounting for freight
*General Order No. 20, April 22, 1918. *General Order No. 21, April 22, 1918. General Order No. 32, June 29, 1918. General Order No. 31, June 12, 1918.