Page images
PDF
EPUB

labor claims involving large questions of policy without first submitting the matter to me.

In the central organization in Washington I propose to have a labor man as a member of my staff who will give his special attention to labor problems, not only to the problems of wages and conditions but also to the problem of aiding the railroads in obtaining sufficient labor and of bringing about a better understanding between officers and employees. The morale and esprit de corps of officers and men should be brought to the highest standards.

There are several matters involving broad questions of public policy concerning which I wish you to make careful studies and report to me with your recommendations.

1. To what extent if at all should additional passenger service be discontinued in order to save coal, labor, locomotives, and shop capacity for freight service. In arriving at any recommendations on this matter it is very important to give due consideration to public convenience. It is quite probable that I shall wish to take the matter up informally with State railroad commissions as to any reductions in service which you think should be made. In dealing with such matters the local point of view must be considered and the State commissions afford a useful instrumentality for obtaining this point of view, and also, to the extent that we can act in harmony with the commission's views, for satisfying local public sentiment as to what is done. So far the State commissions have evinced a commendable spirit of cooperation.

2. I wish you also to make careful study of the extent to which (a) freight solicitation should be discontinued or diminished and freight and passenger agencies, freight officers, ticket offices, etc., discontinued or consolidated; (b) the extent to which traffic officials, soliciting or otherwise, should be transferred to other service and to what other service they should be assigned; and (c) extent to which, if at all, any portion of these forces should be released from service.

3. I wish you also to make a study of (a) the extent to which duplications of service can be avoided, both passenger and freight; (b) extent to which fast freight service can be discontinued or slowed down; (c) extent to which less-than-carload service can be consolidated or diminished; at all times having reasonable consideration for the public convenience.

4. I would like to have your views as to the extent to which the making of purchases can be unified either for the entire country, or for the separate regions, or for parts thereof, accompanying it with a statement of the advantages which you think would result from such unification.

5. The extent to which standardization may be effected in your region on the railroads in your territory (a) with respect to locomotives the various types which will be required to effect the best

standardization; (b) freight cars, open and box cars, and the various types which will be best adapted for use in your territory.

Your recommendations should be made in reference to the adoption to the same standards throughout the United States except in so far as local conditions can make specific types or designs desirable to meet the peculiarities of such local conditions.

6. In general, I shall be glad to have you make a study of the extent to which various classes of operating expenses can be curtailed or eliminated on account of present conditions of Government possession and control. Of course, you understand that by virtue of General Order No. 6 it will be necessary for local associations to make applications for the Director General's approval if it is desired that they continue to be supported out of operating revenues. If any such applications are made to you, I shall be glad to have your recommendations in regard thereto, being guided by the principle that no functions should be carried on by associations whose expenses are chargeable against operating revenues except such functions as are reasonably necessary under the existing condition of Government possession and control, and that only the expense appropriate to such functions should be paid out of operating revenues.

On all these matters I shall appreciate your specific recommendations at the earliest practicable date.

In dealing with this whole subject it is, of course, important for you to view the matter, and to get the various railroad executives of railroads in your jurisdiction to view the matter, from the entirely new standpoint that all the railroads now constitute a single system to be operated so as to secure the maximum of transportation with the minimum of waste, and that the fact that a readjustment will mean that a particular railroad will lose certain sorts of traffic must be disregarded as it is not sufficient reason why the readjustment should not be made, if in other respects it is in the public interest.

Certain general matters are having consideration here and somewhat later will probably be taken up with you. Examples of these matters are additions and betterments, what equipment not already ordered needs to be provided. I shall be greatly interested in any suggestions which you can make to me on these matters at the present time and from time to time.

You will of course have the right to continue or discontinue or create such local committees or representatives as you think proper to insure the best results at particular terminals or in particular subdivisions of your territory. Doubtless at many important terminals you will find it advantageous to select some exceptionally able, aggressive, and tactful railroad representative to take charge of the terminal and to coordinate with the railroad activities, the activities of merchants, coal dealers, truckmen, etc., so as to secure the best possible results in the loading and unloading of cars.

I take it that your communications to the railroads in your region should be to the respective presidents, receivers, or other chief operating officers with such modifications of that practice as you may think advisable, arranging, however, in case of such modifications, that the president, receiver, or other chief operating officer fully understands the practice which you pursue.

Pending the further shaping of the work, there are various general subjects which you should refer to this office and in all such cases I shall appreciate your suggestions or recommendations. Among such subjects are financial problems and legal problems.

I wish to emphasize that I do not consider it expedient for the Regional Directors to undertake to establish without my approval, policies of a public character, i. e., policies which substantially affect the character of service rendered the public or the rights of the public.

Substantial reduction of passenger service is an example of this character. It is impracticable to define these matters clearly, but practical definition will evolve gradually as cases arise. Meanwhile doubtful questions should be submitted to me.

The controlling principle is that the Government being now in possession and control, it is important for the Director General, as the direct representative of the Government, to have a voice in deciding matters which primarily affect the public, because we can not expect that the public will be entirely satisfied to have these matters settled by the railroad managers, which in the public estimation will still be regarded as imbued with the attitude of private management, no matter how disinterestedly those managers may be endeavoring to represent the public interest and nothing else.

Generally speaking, you will develop your organization as you think necessary, but it seems to me that in any event you will need a competent traffic representative who should be selected with the concurrence of Mr. Edward Chambers, who will be in charge of the Division of Traffic with headquarters at Washington. I think you had better treat your organization as tentative until you have submitted the organization plan to me, as I may, upon consideration of tentative plan, wish to make some suggestion upon the subject.

Very sincerely yours,

[blocks in formation]

Regional Director, New York, N. Y.

A. H. SMITH, Esq.,

R. H. AISHTON, Esq.,

[ocr errors]

Regional Director, Chicago, Il.

C. H. MARKHAM, Esq.,

Regional Director, Atlanta, Ga.

GENERAL SUMMARY OF WEATHER OVER THE DISTRICTS OF THE UNITED STATES TO EASTWARD OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER DURING THE WINTER 1917-18 TO DATE.

FEBRUARY 6, 1918.

Cool weather set in much earlier than usual over the eastern portion of the country, September, on the whole, averaging several degrees lower than the normal, while October was cold throughout nearly the entire month, almost winter conditions prevailing throughout the regions from the Ohio Valley northward to Canada. There was some improvement during November as to temperature, although over much of the territory from the Mississippi River eastward the month was several degrees cooler than normal.

There was a general absence of severe storms in November; in fact, the month was decidedly dry and there was much less than the normal of snowfall. As a result, outdoor work of all kinds was possible to an unusual degree and under most favorable conditions. Early in December marked cold weather overspread all eastern districts of the United States, and, save for occasional breaks, the cold was continuous throughout the month. The latter part of the month was particularly cold over the more eastern and northeastern districts, the temperature falling to 40° below zero or lower over the northern portions of New York and New England, and the month, as a whole, was among the coldest during the past 50 years.

There was little snow on the ground at the beginning of December, but near the end of the first decade heavy falls occurred from the lower Ohio Valley northeastward to New England and generally in the Lake region, the depths in immediate Ohio Valley ranging from 8 to 14 inches, while at points in the upper Lakes region the depths were nearly twice as great.

Toward the end of the second decade additional snow fell over the Appalachian Mountains and to the eastward, at which time all central and northern districts from the Mississippi River eastward were snowbound, the depths ranging from 6 to 10 inches from the Ohio Valley eastward nearly to the coast, while farther north the depths were from 10 to 20 inches or more, and so badly drifted as to interfere materially with traffic.

A moderation in the cold during the early part of the third decade of December caused most of the snow in the Ohio Valley districts to

disappear, and there was a substantial reduction in the depth over the Appalachian Mountains and to the eastward.

For December, as a whole, the snowfall was unusually heavy in the Ohio Valley and in most districts to the northeastward. In some sections of this area it was from two to four times greater than the normal, being at many points the heaviest experienced since reliable records have been kept—a period of about 30 years—and in some localities more snow fell in December than usually occurs during the entire winter. As far south as northern Tennessee the monthly totals ranged from 15 to 23 inches.

The latter part of December was cold, but without material snowfall, but early in January moderate falls occurred from the Mississippi Valley eastward, and again about the 7th heavy snows occurred from the middle Mississippi Valley northeastward to the Lakes, the falls in portions of central Illinois and around the southern end of Lake Michigan ranging from 8 inches to nearly 2 feet. High winds accompanied the snow and much drifting resulted, which greatly interfered with traffic. During the early part of the second decade of January, additional snow occurred over wide areas, and at the middle of the month the greater part of the country was snow covered. In the Ohio Valley and Lakes region the fall was again heavy, and the depth of the snow cover ranged from 10 to 15 inches or more.

Throughout January, unusually cold weather continued over all districts from the Mississippi Valley eastward, but particularly in the central and southern districts, where the average temperature ranged from 10° to 14° below the normal.

The total snowfall for January, 1918, like that of the preceding month, was much heavier than usual in the central districts from the Mississippi River eastward. The falls were particularly heavy around the southern end of Lake Michigan and thence southward to and over the southern tributaries of the Ohio. In the great mining sections from southwestern Virginia northeastward to Pennsylvania and thence westward to Missouri and Arkansas the total snowfall for the month ranged from 1 to 2 feet or more, and in the vicinity of Chicago the totals were from 3 to nearly 5 feet. At times during the month heavy winds drifted the snow badly. From the Mississippi Valley eastward the total snowfall for January, 1918, was unusually heavy, being in most cases from two to four times as much as is usually received during that month.

For the period December 1, 1917, to January 31, 1918, the average temperature over the districts from the Mississippi Valley eastward has been among the lowest of record for an equal period of time in the past 50 years.

In this connection it is interesting to note that in the far western districts of the United States the weather during the winter so far

« PreviousContinue »