AR, A&F(AL) 7/1/1861 CE&S

Annual Report of the Alabama & Florida (of Alabama) RR
as of July 1, 1861
Chief Engineer and Superintendent's Report
Office Engineer and Superintendent
Montgomery, Sept. 2d, 1861
Chas. T. Pollard, President
   The total receipts for the year ending 1st July, 1861, as shown by Table No. 1 have been:
From Passengers $83,529.95
   "   Freights 62,985.16
   "   Mail Pay 15,022.73
Total $161,537.84
And the expenses for the same period as shown by Table No. 2, have been, for maintenance of Road, including labor, subsistence and clothing for hands, and salaries of all officers connected with Repair Department  $29,713.78
For maintenance of Rolling Stock, including all labor on and material for same  39,934.06
For operating, including all salaries of agents, clerks, conductors, wages of train hands, &c.  21,662.19 $91,310.03
---Which deducted from receipts, shows as nett earnings $70,227.81
   When it is recollected, that the Road was completed on the third of May, less than two months before the close of our fiscal year, that up to that time the lower end had not paid the expenses of operating, that our cotton receipts in consequence of the short crop, fell off nearly 8,000 bales, that all troops are transported for the Government at 2 cents per mile, and all freight at one half our regular charges, (rates, simply intended to cover actual cost,) that during the entire business season every branch of industry and enterprise has been paralyzed, that transportation expenses have received no credit for the transportation of the iron plates, spikes, a portion of the ties, &c., used in the construction of the lower 50 miles of the Road, I think you will feel that the Stockholders have ground for encouragement rather than despondency.
   The rapidly approaching completion of the Mobile & Great Northern Rail Road from Pollard, its point of junction with our Road, to the Tensaw River; and a Steamboat Line of 20 miles, connecting us with Mobile, both of which are now confidently promised by its chief officers within the next sixty days, must add largely to our receipts, and secure, on the restoration of peace, and consequent revival of business, the realization of the just expectations of the projectors of this Road.
The Present Condition of the Road
   With the exception of that through the prairies is satisfactory. On the last two sections on which the grading has been but recently completed, the embankments have settled considerably, as was to have been expected, but on the balance of the Road below the "Prairie Belt," the track has stood well, although it was laid rapidly, 16 miles having been laid during the month of April. When once in thorough condition it will be kept up with a comparatively small cost, the proportion of curvature being only 12 per cent., the minimum radius 1,910 feet, and the maximum grades only 32.6 feet per mile. In consequence of the excessive rains, little has been accomplished towards getting down the stringer tract through the prairies, and less towards the ditching and widening the prairie cuts, but as one extreme usually follows another it is to be hoped we shall have sufficient seasonable weather to allow us to put the prairies portion of the Road in complete order before the winter rains set in.
   The stringers and ties are already provided and efficient men with good forces in charge of both the track laying and ditching gangs, bridges and culverts.
   The bridges are in good condition. At Burnt Corn, the Howe Bridge which has been framed for nearly a year, has not been put up, owing to the difficulty growing out of our political troubles, of procuring the large iron rods which form so prominent a feature in that plan of Bridge; but as the temporary work across that stream will not do to rely upon during the winter freshets, steps have been taken to procure the bolts and finish the bridge.
   The freshets of October, 1860, while it demonstrated the insufficiency of the water way at several points, showed that at Burnt Corn the grade of the Road was too low by several feet, and while the injury there was so slight as not to amount to the detention of a single train, it clearly indicated the necessity of raising the bridge to provide against other accidents of the kind, from which we might not have such a fortunate escape.
   At Murder Creek it will be necessary a few years hence, to erect a lattice bridge over the main stream. At the two lower crossings of Mudge's Mill Creek, and at Sepulga it is contemplated to substitute lattice bridges for those now used, and arrangements are on foot to that end. The bridges for the three openings will only be 300 feet, which I estimate can be built at $12 1/2 per foot.
   In consequence of the high price of iron which constitutes such a large item of the cost in a Howe Bridge, that plan of bridge has been abandoned, and the Town's Patent Lattice, stiffened by braces, as a substitute for the modern arch on the Burr plan, adopted in its stead. They can be built for half the cost of a Howe Bridge, and for short spans answer every purpose.
   At Big Swamp where the trestle was originally 1500 feet long, 800 feet of trestle have been replaced by embankment, and a substantial brick abutment built at the southern end to protect if from the action of the current in high water; the material for the abutment at the north end are delivered, and will be put up as soon as the weather becomes settled.
   In the neighborhood of Evergreen neither stone nor brick was to be had during the gradation, and the urgent public necessity for the speedy completion of the Road this spring, only allowed time to "pen up" the openings, so as to secure the passage of the trains, and keep the Road in safe working order until material for building culverts could be transported over the finished Road.
   A brick culvert has been completed under the largest of these openings, and a second one under the next deepest nearly finished, one or two small ones still remaining to be done. A contract has been made on favorable terms for the earth work and the contractor is progressing satisfactorily.
   In the original construction of the Road through the prairies, many of the culverts were built of wood in consequence of the entire absence of suitable building material, and as many of them will require renewal during the coming year, it is proposed in every instance to rebuild with brick. This work has not yet been commenced, nor will it be until absolutely necessary.
Depot Buildings and Water Stations
   Depots have been erected at Garland, Evergreen, Sparta and Brewton; that at Evergreen, which is midway between Montgomery and Pensacola, is of brick, is very neatly and substantially built, and reflects credit on the contractor, Young M. Rabb. It is 70 x 32, with platform six feet wide in front and rear, with projecting eve, with office for Agent and reception room for passengers. The Depots at Garland, Sparta and Brewton are wooden buildings of same size and plan, and are the last that we shall require with the exception of one at Pollard, which has not yet been erected because the point of connection with the Roads to Pensacola and Mobile has not been definitely settled; as soon as that matter is arranged, it will be necessary to build a depot 40 x 100, and a passenger shed 200 x 60 feet, which it is proposed to erect on the joint act of the Roads interested.
   Of the six regular Water Stations, three are self-supplying, so that we shall only have to pay for pumping at only three points on the Road. All the new stations are supplied with round Juniper Tanks, manufactured at the Perdido Mills, Florida, at 3 cents per gallon; for durability, lightness and tightness they are superior to any thank with which I am acquainted.
   The Wind Mill which we erected as an experiment at Fort Deposit, for the purpose of pumping, has proved a failure, on account of the insufficiency and irregularity of the wind. Near the coast where the daily alternation of land and sea breeze would always during the 24 hours, afford a sufficient wind to work the mill, its success is beyond doubt.
   We have 11 Engines; for their condition and performance I refer you to the Report of W. A. Graham, Master Mechanic, Table No. 5. The machinery in his department has been admirably kept up, and at a reasonable cost, and I should feel dissatisfied with myself if I did not in this connection express the high appreciation I entertain of Mr. Graham, both as a mechanic and a man.
   We have 4 Passenger, 2 Baggage, 21 Box, 41 Platform, 2 Stock and 10 Gravel Cars, and 1 Crank Car; in addition to these we have 9 other Cars, (4 Box and 5 Flats,) ready to mount on the wheels. We ought, in anticipation of the opening of the Road to Mobile, increase our Box by at least 10, and to add 2 Passenger and 2 Baggage Cars to our present stock.
   The Road being completed, or nearly so, an enquiry into its actual as compared with its estimated cost naturally arises.
   In the Report on the preliminary surveys, submitted January 1st, 1854, the cost from Montgomery to State line, 115 3/4 miles, is set down at $2,162,732.44, exclusive of Engine House and Machine Shop at Montgomery, and outfit of Engines and Cars.
   Road account on our books now foots up $1,871,426.30, to which add to cover cost of finishing  ridges, substituting brick for wood culverts, filling any trestle where experience may show it prudent to lessen water way and perfecting the Road bed $91,306.05, and you have $1,962,732.44, which deducted from estimated cost will leave a balance of $200,000, a result, which I trust will be gratifying to the Stockholders, and serve to some extent at least to dispel the too prevalent impression of the unreliability of Engineers' estimates of the cost of Public Works, which has affected injuriously alike the reputation of the profession, and meritorious public enterprises.
   In concluding my Report, I could not omit the expression of my approbation of the general good conduct and efficiency of the employees on the Road, and my indebtedness to my Engineer Corps for the hearty co-operation I have received at their hands, and especially would I acknowledge my obligation to Wm. P. Garland, my Principal Assistant Engineer, who, to a superior knowledge of his profession, added an untiring energy and devotion to the interests of the Company whenever and wherever he could serve them.
Respectfully submitted,
Sam'l G. Jones
Chief Engineer and Superintendent