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SEVENTH ANNUAL REPORT
BOARD OF RAILROAD COMMISSIONERS,
YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1884.
STATE OF IOWA.
PRINTED BY ORDER OF THE GOVERNOR.
GEO. E. ROBERTS, STATE PRINTER.
STATE OF IOWA,
DES MOINES, December 22, 1884.
Hon. BUREN R. SHERMAN, Governor of Iowa:
As required by law, we have the honor to submit herewith the Seventh Annual Report of the Board of Railroad Commissioners, showing the capital stock, debt, general traffic, earnings, operating expenses, condition of the railroads doing business in the State for the year ending June 30, 1884, a statement of the complaints brought before us for adjudication, with decisions of the Board in full, together with the returns of the several companies to this office, and tabular statements made therefrom.
To the end that there may be, as far as possible, a full and complete showing of the doings of the Board, and a view given of the whole transportation question, we also submit a statement of the detail and routine work done during the year, a statement of additional legislation with reference to railroads, the result of the action of the last General Assembly, and an abstract of the decisions of the Supreme Court of the State upon questions affecting railroads and their relations to the citizens of the State, and general remarks of the Commissioners upon the several subjects coming before them for consideration.
On the 1st day of May, 1884, James W. McDill, of Union county, Iowa, was appointed to fill the vacancy occasioned by the expiration of the term of service of Major A. R. Anderson, of Fremont county, Iowa.
Since the first organization of the Board in 1878, there has been a constant increase in the amount of business done in the office, calling for a constantly increasing amount of clerical work.
The following statement in general will give an idea of the amount of business done:
Number of letters received during the year ending Dec. 1, 1884. ........1,723 Number of letters written during the year ending Dec. 1, 1884. 2,217 Number of complaints filed during the year ending Dec. 1, 1884..
119 Number of complaints adjusted during the year ending Dec. 1, 1884.... 115 Number of complaints pending and unadjusted during the year ending Dec. 1, 1884..
4 Number of cases in which railroad companies have failed to comply
with the recommendations of the Board during the year ending Dec. 1, 1884 ....
2 Number of orders of the Board affecting public right which have not
been complied with and have been certified to the Attorney-General during the year ending Dec. 1, 1884..
2 Number of cases certified to the Attorney-General for suit for penalty for failure to make report as required by law..
2 Number of circulars sent out and responses thereto.
678 Number of express packages sent out during the year ending Dec. 1, 1884..
The methods of dealing with railroads and transportation companies in their relations to the public are still the subject of much discussion. Varied and conflicting views still exist, and sharp and acrimonious criticism is being made by differing theorists. Yet, in spite of all this, the Commissioners, in taking a view of the situation in the State in 1878 and the changing attitudes of the question during the years which have passed down to the present time, that being the period of the Commissioner system in Iowa, are able to report a more intelligent and tolerant understanding and discussion of the subject than has ever before been known in the State. Publicity has accomplished much of the good that has been predicted. The seven annual reports of the Board of Railroad Commissioners constitute a concise history of what has been done in the State during that time. Men from them know, or can know, more of the general subject than of any other period in the past. The mistakes that have been made are there embalmed and preserved for warning in the future. The successes are also there recorded, and no one can intelligently discuss the transportation question without mastering the