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of report was agreed upon, and that June 30th should be the end of the fiscal year. In the meantime, as the Interstate Commerce Commission have held that not only the railroads which ran across state lines, but all that participate in interstate traffic are subject to their jurisdiction, and have called upon all the railroads of the United States to report to them, according to the form and date above referred to, and, as about all the state commissions have adopted the same form and date, it would seem that from now on, the statistical information to accompany commissioners' reports, including the Florida Commission, will be more easily obtainable and more in form suitable for tabulation, as contemplated by the commission law of this state.

The mileage table (see Appendix) shows a total mileage in Florida of 2,566.84. There are some hundreds of miles of private roads used mainly for hauling saw logs, and in the cit ies a considerable mileage of street railways, not subject to the authority of this commission, not included in the table. The increase in mileage during the year is 75.89 miles.

In this increase there is no construction of new roads shown, but extensions of roads already in operation or in course of construction, including that of the Florida Central and Peninsular from Plant City to Tampa; of the Orlando and Winter Park R. R.; of the Suwannee River R. R., and others. At this time, the number of enterprises in which construction is going on, is small, though there are indications of the early commencement to build several roads of some length. It may be borne in mind, however, that the mileage already in operation, furnishes to the people of Florida transportation facilities according to population in excess of those enjoyed by the people of any of the other states, excepting, possibly, one or two of the new states in the Northwest; and furthermore, that whenever and wherever in Florida there has been an opening,giving promise either immediately or prospectively of the development of any considerable traffic, the parties and the means have been at hand to build a railroad. These facts considered in connection with the number of open ports on the Florida coast to and from which regular lines of ocean going vessels ply, would seem to justify the modest boast that in some respects facilities for intercourse and traffic are more abundant in our state than in any other in the United States. And yet herein perhaps will be found, at least so far as the railroads are concerned, the very reason why there nevertheless continue to exist, as will be more fully referred to elsewhere in this report, quite a number of complaints as against the roads. To whatever extent railroads may be developers, and are necessary to the prosperity of the people and the growth of the

State, it is obvious that to be able to give good service, the road must earn adequate revenue, and where there are a number of roads, some large systems and other short lines, all competing for the handling of a fixed or given volume of traffic, there are likely to be diversions of freight, rebates, overcharges, secret rates, great delay, if not refusal in adjustment of claims, and the like. It is that kind of rivalry or contest in which not only the public, but often at the hands of each other, railroads themselves suffer. Out of such conditions, too, to a large extent grows the reed of railroad commissions as well as the problems that often render their work difficult.

The tables showing earnings, expenses, and stock and debt, (see Appendix) while not showing returns from all the roads in the State, are nevertheless an interesting exhibit of the capitalization and current receipts and disbursements of most of the roads in Florida.

The table giving the details of the accidents to persons shows the number of killed and injured respectively to be 37 and 196.

And this exhibit is made of the returns of only nine of the roads, the others either making no returns under this head, or reporting "none killed or injured." In this connection we wish to say, though not prepared to make recommendations as to specific legislation, that in several of the states there has been considerable agitation of the question of suitable legislation requiring greater precaution in the movement of trains and otherwise in the operation of railroads, the object being to lessen the sacrifice of life and the number of maimed, crippled or otherwise injured persons. The end aimed at, it is claimed, can be accomplished by requiring the adoption of improved car couplers and brakes, by prompt official investigation of accidents, and perhaps in other ways.

There is in the Appendix, also, (see p. 77) a table showing number and average daily compensation of employes, including officers and others engaged in the various departments of labor connected with the operation of the roads.

The returns on file in our office do not enable us to tabulate as we would take pleasure in doing, the traffic movement, train mileage, etc. Giving the data we have as to these matters, while it is complete as to some of the roads and entirely want ing as to the others, would, it is thought, be of no great value as showing statistics of the State, and is omitted.


The Commission sought by the issuance of Circular No. 36 to ascertain from the different railroad companies the number of acres of land which have been received by them from all

sources, but several roads have not responded, and from the meagreness of the data now before the Commission, and their incomplete and unsatisfactory nature, they cannot now do so.

May 28, 1889, a committee of the State Senate submitted a report which included the following statement, to wit: Aggregate amount of acres of land conveyed to the railroads by the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund of Florida.

J., T. & K. W.


P. & I. Ry.


J., St. A. & H. Ry..


St. A. & P. Ry. (now St. A. & H. R. Ry.).


St J. Ry.


Fla. So. & Lake Eustis..


St. J. & H. Ry..


Florida Southern.


S., F. & W.....


South Florida...

Live Oak and R. Bluff Ry. (S., F. & W. Ry.)........

Florida Railway & Navigation (F. C. & P.).




[blocks in formation]

G. C. Springs & Mid. R. R. (Western Ry. of Fla.)


Orange Belt Ry..


Blue Springs, Orange City & Atlantic (A. & W.
R. R)...




Eighteen companies, total.....

In response to the circular aforesaid from the reports of railroad companies that answered, the following compilation has been made, to wit:

[blocks in formation]

(1) Report of 1887. That about 305.000 acres had been used in construction.

Report of 1890. That 339,987 acres had been turned over to the Plant Investment Company to build the road from Kissimmee to Tampa.

(2) Report of 1888. None owned by the railroad company. (3) Given to Orange Belt Investment Company.

(4) Report of 1887. No data; disposed of by former owners. Since then 251,210 acres were received, of which 231,960 acres were used by the Receiver in construction of roads from Withlacoochee to Plant City.

It will be seen that according to these reports of the lands received, only a little over one-fifth has been sold, or otherwise disposed of. Several millions of acres in the aggregate are claimed to be still due to the above named and other companies, from the State. Of them the Pensacola and Atlantic Railroad Company claims 1,896,628; the Jacksonville, Tampa and Key West Railway Company, 1,284,427; the Silver Springs, Ocala and Gulf Railroad Company, 354,980; and the South Florida, 188,500.

Of course these reports do not include all of the lands that have been donated to the railroad companies in this State. Large grants were made to the original companies that were first organized, of which no report is made by their subsequent owners. As to these there is no data in this office. Doubtless they may be found elsewhere, but to ascertain and report them involves an amount of labor and research extending over a period of over thirty-five years, which the other duties of the Commission has not allowed them to devote to it.


Nothing perhaps more satisfactorily illustrates the wisdom of a law, or is better calculated to reveal its defects and to suggest proper amendments, than the practical application and enforcement of it. The nature and character of the grievances complained of, and the manner in which they have been redressed, are thus brought prominently into view. Accordingly the Commission have compiled such of the complaints and correspondence as they deemed of sufficient interest and importance to refer to, which have been made to them since their last annual report, and append them hereto, with as brief a statement of each as a proper and full understanding of it seemed to require. An examination of them will disclose the fact that, (as elsewhere referred to in this report) comparatively few complaints have been made over which the Commission had jurisdiction, and that in every instance involving an overcharge, such overcharge has been promptly refunded, except in two cases which were claimed to be on interstate shipments, to wit: the complaints of Dismukes & Shaw of Quincy, and of the Dunnellon Phosphate Company, both against the Florida Central and Peninsular Railroad Company. It will be seen, too, that in many instances over which this Commission had no control under the law, satisfactory adjustments have been effected. As to the complaint of the East Coast Transportation Company against the Jacksonville, Tampa and Key West Railway Company, in regard to unjust discrimination in receiving and delivering freights at the wharf at Titusville, the decision of the Commission does not seem to have given entire satis action to either party, but no occasion has arisen which called upon the Commission to enforce it before the courts. (See Appendix). The Commission is advised, however, that the question of the validity of that decision has arisen in a suit between the Indian River Steamboat Company and said East Coast Transportation Company before the Circuit Court, and that from the decree of that court in favor of the former company, an appeal has been taken by the latter, to the Supreme Court, where it is now pending. The enforcement of Circular

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