Lapas attēli


To the Legislature :

The Board of Railroad Commissioners respectfully submits its forty-third annual report, it being the fourth under the act of 1883.

Its purpose is to comply with the law and furnish facts in regard to the railroads of New Hampshire and the work of the railroad commission.


This can fairly be said of the railroads of New Hampshire: Their value, which depends upon their capacity to earn dividends, and is represented by the market value of their securities, is greater than ever before. Their physical condition is better than ever before. Their rolling stock has been greatly increased, and is more serviceable. They are doing more business, and are operated with greater regularity, speed, and safety, and with more regard to the convenience of the public.

NOTE. -The returns of railroad corporations and the comments thereon are for the year ending September 30, 1886.

A change in the chairmanship of the Board occurred October 1.

The record of complaints and decisions having been brought, in the report for 1886, published in September last, down to May 17 of that year, that which appears in this volume covers but ten months.

Most of the railroad histories begun in previous reports have been rewrit. ten in order to make necessary additions and corrections, and it is hoped they will now be found so complete and reliable that they may hereafter be omitted.


The original cost of the railroads of New Hampshire cannot be given. The amounts stated in the reports of the different corporations are the sums at which the roads are valued upon their books, and are unreliable so far as furnishing information as to the expense of building and equipping them is concerned. In some cases they include the first cost of construction and equipment; in others, these items and the expense of a long series of improvements and large ventures in other properties; in others they are only the sums paid at trustees' sales, or those upon which interest is guaranteed, or the total of the outstanding stock and bonds. In one or two instances they are but fractions of the amounts invested; and in others they refer to expenditures almost entirely in other States. But by sifting and analyzing these reports, and gathering such data as are obtainable elsewhere, we secure the material for a close estimate of the cost of constructing and furnishing the several roads in this State up to the time when they could fairly be said to be finished, which was about $35,000,000. Of this amount, about $9,000,000 has never paid any dividends, and most of it has been irrecoverably lost in the reorganizations and transfers which have followed the bankruptcy of the corporations that constructed the roads. The Central, Contoocook Valley, Concord & Claremont, Sullivan, Concord & Portsmouth, Manchester & Keene, Nashua & Acton, Dover & Winnipesaukee, Peterborough & Shirley, Ashuelot, and Portland & Ogdensburg, have all been through bankruptcy, and the original stockholders of the Great Falls & Conway, Boston, Concord & Montreal, and Cheshire are still waiting for interest upon investments made long ago. The total cost of all the roads making returns to this Board, as it appears upon the books of the corporations, is $65,120,232.64. Of this, fully one half represents

expenditures in other States, and the cost of the railroad property in this State, in its present condition, to the owners, is about $32,500,000. The capital stock of all the corporations reporting is $45,691,742.74; the funded debt, $25,075,100; and the floating indebtedness, $8,261,882.10; a total liability of $79,028,724.84.


The total standard-gauge steam railroad mileage of this State is 1,025 miles. All of this except about 63 miles is included in the Connecticut River, Cheshire, Concord, Boston & Lowell, Boston & Maine, and Grand Trunk systems.

Each of these systems is practically one road. No one of them is wholly in New Hampshire. All but one traverse parts of three States. Their accounts, so far as they relate to earnings and expenses, can be strictly reliable only when each system is treated as a unit; for the apportionment of aggregates among the several component corporations must be, to some extent, arbitrary, and an accurate division according to state lines is not possible; but conclusions which are approximately correct, and which answer practical purposes, at least for comparison, may be reached by considering each system as entirely our own, and each important road that is mostly in this State as an independent line, whose accounts and reports are in no way affected by its family relations.


The following table shows the price, discarding fractions, of New Hampshire railroad stocks in the Boston market since 1878, the quotations given being the lowest for the years named except the last, which is for February 21 of this year. It includes all our state roads that are bought and sold in that market, the others being leased properties whose dividends are fixed and whose securities

are in most instances owned in large blocks and seldom change hands.


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Taken together, the stocks that have been continually listed since 1878 have more than doubled since that time, the average value of $100 shares in each being $73 then and $155 now, an average gain of $82.

The advance has carried every stock on the list above par, and three of them to more than twice their par value, while in 1879 only four sold for their face value.

The aggregate appreciation on all the stock of the fifteen roads named is almost $27,000,000.

This appreciation is, except in one or two cases, in no way due to stock-board manipulation, but to increased confidence in prospective dividends, the resultant of a large increase of business and consolidations which promise large reductions in the percentage of expenses to gross earnings.

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