AR, M&G 6/1/1866 S

Annual Report of the Mobile & Girard RR
as of June 1, 1866,
Superintendent's Report
 
Superintendent's Office, M. & G. R. R.
Girard, Ala., June 1, 1866
 
To W. H. Mitchell, Esq.
President
 
Sir,
   *****
   The following table shows a comparison of the expenses for the past year with the fiscal year ending June 15th, 1861:  {only 1860-61 figures transcribed}
Transportation 1860 & 1861
Fuel and Water 2,8239.35
Repairs to Engines 9,693.94
Oil and Tallow 710.48
Runners and Firemen 4,970.61
Repairs of Cars 4,931.77
Salaries and Labor 13,158.83
Freight Damage 467.71
Stock         " 367.42
Agents at Stations 3,772.08
Printing and Stationery 663.99
Repairs of buildings 5.50
Incidentals 3,010.87

Repairs of Road

Salaries and Labor 23,792.72
Materials 8,386.21
Tools and Subsistence 5,534.20
     Total 82,290.33
   ***** The damage at Girard in April, 1865, was estimated at $60,000, which was made up by burning the shops, depot, water station, two locomotives, two passenger cars, one baggage and a train of freight cars, together with damage to stationary engine and shop machinery.
   *****The Southern Express Company, from September, 1860, to September, 1862, (say two years) paid this Company, for running their Express, $852.43, or $35.52 per month.
   ***** The Company bought from George Stewart & Co. 640 acres of land in 1864, lying, one-half on either side of the road, near Cowikee; this, in connection with a half section that the Company owned at that place, gave a body of land sufficient to supply the Road with bridge timber for the last two or three years, and still leaves a large supply of timber, cross-ties and wood for future use. The price agreed upon with Stewart & Co. was 3,000 cords of wood to be delivered in three years upon the road. It costs the Company about sixty cents per cord to deliver the wood. Stewart & Co. agreed, on their part, to furnish the Railroad employees meal for three years, at the rate of one and a quarter bushels of meal for each cord of wood hauled from Cowikee to Union Springs, in payment for freight on said 3,000 cords of wood.
   It was found almost impossible to procure material, by contract, during the years 1863 and '64, to keep up the track and bridges, hence the absolute necessity of something like the above contract with Stewart & Co. It is seldom that a contract of this kind is to the mutual benefit of both parties; this, however, I think an exception, and believe that both parties are mutually benefited, well pleased, and are still executing the contract in good faith.
   Allow me to compare the condition of the Road in 1860 with what it is today, for the benefit of those who are enquiring, what have you been doing over there for the last six years? In 1860, the Road was owing a floating debt of $145,563, in sums varying from $50 to $5,000, a large portion of which was in Court Judgments. This has all been settled, and today the Company do not owe any amount that could be looked upon as a floating debt. Every liability of the Company now due could be met, if necessary, at one day's notice, except interest coupons held back and not presented during the war, which are being funded in 8 pr ct bonds. In 1860, there was6,080 feet of bridging upon the road between Girard and Union Springs; today there is only 3,770 feet, the difference having been filled up and a permanent road-bed secured, the cost of which has been that much added to the capital of the Company. The bridging in 1860 was all, with two exceptions, of the kind known as second-class trestle, in 12 feet spans. The consequence was, that they were liable, in many places, to be carried away by drift wood during freshets. Accidents of this kind were common occurrence during 1860 and 1861. This has been remedied by substituting first-class trestle work of from 30 to fo feet spans, at points liable to such disasters, and no damage of any kind has occurred to the bridges during the past year. The cost of first-class bridging compared with second-class, is about double. This difference could properly have been charged to construction; instead of doing so, it was placed to the debit of current expenses from year to year. This difference has been added to the value of the Road. In reducing the length of bridging and in replacing wooden culverts, there has been used during the last six years over two million bricks, the cost of which has also been added to the value of the Road in 1860. In 1860, there was twenty miles of the Road very unsafe in wet weather, from slides and soft churning road bed; this day four-fifths of the road bed for that distance has been permanently remedied by hauling sand from 3 to 7 miles and putting it under the track to a depth of from one to four feet, the other fifth made comparatively safe by the same means, slides taken out and others prevented by such appliances as the nature of the case required. The expense of this immense labor has been paid and charged up to the current expenses from year to year. It has added its cost, however, to the value of the Road, and might, with propriety, have been charged to construction. One slide near the 47 mile post in Vann's plantation, of an embankment 50 feet high, which commenced sliding in 1863, after standing five years, with daily trains running over it, sunk during the winters 1863 and 1864 18 feet, passing under the original surface of the earth, on the line of marl, and rose up at a distance of 150 yards from line of road, and now presents quite a mound, when three years ago there was a level surface. This has been overcome in a great measure by driving a solid row of piles, about 300 feet long, to an average depth of 25 feet, passing through the moving mass and into the solid marl; and by working a train with 30 to 40 hands several months during the winter for three years. Thus I could go on and instance hundreds of other cases, not of so much importance, perhaps, but still every one of them costing labor, which is money, to overcome and repair. No one, except an employee on the road, can have any idea of the many difficulties that this Road is blessed with, and from which most other roads are exempt; and, but from the fact that I have been sustained, encouraged, advised and upheld by your great, good, practical sense, I should have given up in despair long since. It may be asked, are these difficulties to continue indefinitely? My answer is, that in 1860 and 1861 accidents from run-offs, slides, washing away of bridges, &c., were of common occurrence, and that for the last twelve months the trains have run with as much regularity as they have upon any of the neighboring roads, not an accident having occurred to an engine or car during that time that cost the Company $100 to repair. Accidents in future will most likely occur from defective iron, the remedy for which is the purchase of 26 miles of T iron, the negotiation for which has already commenced, to relay that portion of the road now laid with old Flange iron. *****
   In comparing the condition of the Road in 1860 with the present, I should have stated that the shops were without tools of any kind except those worked by hand, and that all repairs requiring machinery to accomplish was done at other shops in Columbus. *****
Respectfully submitted,
B. E. Wells
Engineer and Superintendent

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