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DES MOINES, November, 30, 1885.

TO HON. BUREN R. SHERMAN, Governor of Iowa:

As required by law, we have the honor to submit herewith the eighth annual report of the Board of Railroad Commissioners, showing the capital stock, debt, general traffic, earnings, operating expenses, and condition of the railroads doing business in Iowa for the year ending June 30, A. D. 1885; also 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, 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.

No change has taken place in the organization of the Board since the date of our last report. Mr. L. S. Coffin has been reappointed for the term of three years.

We append the following statement of business done during the year:

Number of letters received during the year ending December 1, 1885...

... 2,681

Number of letters written during the year ending December

1, 1885......


Number of packages sent by mail during the year ending De

cember 1, 1885..


Number of packages sent by express during the year ending

December 1, 1885...


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Number of complaints adjusted during the year ending December 1, 1885.


Number of complaints pending and unadjusted for the year ending December 1, 1885...


Number of cases in which railroad companies have failed to comply with the recommendations of the Board during the .None.

year ending December 1, 1885...

Number of orders of the Board affecting public right which have not been complied with, and which have been certified to the Attorney-General during the preceding year, 1884.



The total number of miles of railroad in operation in Iowa reported by the companies to this Board is seven thousand four hundred seventy eight and forty-three one hundredths miles. The report of the capital stock and debt is based on the entire lines of the roads which run into other States; these lines are twenty-one thousand seven hundred ninety-one and thirty-eight one hundredths miles. The Commissioners estimate the proportion of the stock of these roads that represents the lines in Iowa, added to the stock of the roads entirely in Iowa to be, broad gauge $133,484.621 or $18,604.46 per mile; the narrow-gauge roads $1,267,575, or $7,826.58 per mile. Why this should fall short of the former report we are unable to ascertain; possibly it may have occurred through the absorption of its leased lines by the Chicago & Northwestern.

The total number of stockholders living in the State is returned as five hundred forty nine; the total amount of stock owned by persons. living in the State is $7,956,650. The narrow-gauge roads owned by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul and the Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific railways are not reported separately and are included in the estimates of the broad gauge lines; this mileage is not large and does not materially change the conditions.


The total debt of the roads in Iowa as reported by the companies and apportioned by the estimate of the Commissioners is, broad gauge $137,282,526.72 or $19,133.80 per mile; of this amount $133,203,562.02 is funded debt, $4,078,964.70 is unfunded or floating debt.

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