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repeated calls for the information required by the Commissioner law, and have always been answered by the stereotyped reply, 'Our books are not kept in a manner to enable us to furnish the information called for.' Whether the law, as it now stands, is sufficient to sustain the Board in an order requiring the books of the companies reporting to be kept in such a manner as will enable them to answer fully, may be a question; an effort has been twice made to have such amendments to the statute as will relieve it of all doubt, but without success. No report can be made by a commission that will be entirely reliable, unless some power is given to elicit the facts necessary to make it correct, and this must go far enough to require books to be kept in such manner as to enable the information to be furnished."



By the terms of Sect. 14 of the law of 1878, it was provided that:

"Upon the occurrence of any serious accident upon a railroad, which shall result in personal injury or loss of life, the corporation operating the road upon which the accident occurred shall give immediate notice thereof to the Commissioners, whose duty it shall be, if they deem it necessary, to investigate the same, and promptly report to the Governor the extent of the personal injury or loss of life, and whether the same was the result of the mismanagement or neglect of the corporation on whose line the injury or loss of life occurred. Provided, that such report shall not be evidence, or referred to in any case in any court."

The Commissioners have complied with this requirement throughout the history of the Board, have carefully investigated the serious accidents, and reported them fully.

In their report for 1882, the Board called attention to the fact that a large percentage of injury and death to the railroad employees resulted from the method employed in coupling cars. During this year sixteen were killed and one hundred and eighty-two injured from this cause. In connection with their report for 1884,1 the Commissioners presented the following startling statistics:

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This frightful loss of life naturally turned the attention of people to the discovery of some method by which the danger might be removed. The Commission discussed the Massachusetts law of 1884, requiring the use of safety couplers on freight-cars, and suggested similar action. They also recommended the application of the power-brake to freight-cars.

From this time on the subject was continually agitated by the Commissioners, and its discussion occupied a prominent place in their reports. In July, 1886, the National Master Car Builders Association made a test. of freight-car brakes at Burlington, Ia., which was entirely successful, and aroused a large amount of favorable sentiment on the question. The Commission, though still continuing its agitation in favor of State action, admitted, in its report for 1889,1 that national legislation would be much more effective and far-reaching than anything that could be done by individual States. The agitation for State action had its effect; and the Twenty-third General Assembly passed a law providing that new cars put into use in the State, and old cars sent to the shops for general repairs and needing new drawbars, must be equipped with safety or automatic couplers, and that after Jan. 1, 1895, all cars used in Iowa must be equipped with safety or automatic 1 Page 47a.

couplers. That after Jan. 1, 1892, all locomotives used in Iowa must be equipped with power-brakes, and that after Jan. 1, 1893, all trains operated within the State must have "made up in them" a sufficient number of cars equipped with automatic and power brakes, to enable the engineer to control the train from the locomotive. The law was amended in 1892, and made more stringent, penalties being prescribed for failure to comply. The provision was introduced, that, after January, 1900, any common carrier shall refuse to accept or receive from any connecting line any car to be used in the State which is not fully equipped as required by the Act. The report of the Commission of 1892, the latest statistics obtainable, show that 19.36 per cent of the cars were equipped with train-brakes, and 22.87 per cent with automatic couplers, an evidence that genuine progress has been made in the adoption of safety appliances.



THE Commissioners entered upon their work in 1878 with the hesitancy which always accompanies the inauguration of an experiment. They lacked the confidence. in themselves which comes from a consciousness of the hearty and unanimous support of the people interested. Those who had most vigorously sustained the Granger legislation were naturally disinclined to lend to the new system perfectly loyal support. Moreover, many who were ready for something new opposed the law on account of its lack of the power of enforcement. Such persons did not perceive that it was the evident intention of the legislature to rely for the enforcement of the Board's orders upon the power of public opinion, which could quickly find expression through the legislature and the courts. The Commissioners had the undoubted support of the majority of the people, and at the beginning the apparently cordial support of the railroads. Thoughtful, far-seeing people had realized, as had the roads, that the Granger legislation would never prove a satisfactory solution of the question; and they were all willing and ready to unite upon something new, which had not the weight of an unsuccessful experience to drag it down. The experience of other States with the commission system was encouraging rather than otherwise, and the Board entered upon its duties

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