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between London Bridge and Greenwich, Greenwich and Woolwich, going east. Thus the fare for the whole route from Hammersmith to Woolwich would be 5d. For the same distance, when boats are running, the companies charge is. or more, whilst for each of the proposed id. stages they charge 3d. or 4d. Self-registering turnstiles, as used in the Birkenhead and Wallasey services, would obviate the complicated and expensive ticket system. The times occupied and the fares charged would compare favorably with the fares and times of competing rail, tram and omnibus services.

Why should London Wait? With 33 million passengers annually the traffic would pay. The annual passenger traffic of Greater London is about 1,300 millions. For the metropolis it is calculated at 878 millions, of which 453 millions are within the central area, or adjacent to the river. Onetenth of this central traffic diverted to a river service would make it pay handsomely. As a fact every new facility for travel increases the total of passengers, that is to say it creates a large proportion of its own traffic. In London the number of single journey passengers per head of the population is 202, whereas in New York, where there are better facilities for travel, it is 284.

The Wallasey service, with less than a million of population to draw upon, and with but four stations-corresponding, say, to London Bridge, Greenwich, Woolwich and Gravesend-carries fifteen million passengers, mainly a residential and pleasure traffic. A Thames service, with twenty or more stations, with 5 millions of population to feed it, and running through the heart of the greatest business centre in the world, could hardly fail to carry five passengers to Wallasey's one, or 75 millions, more than double the required traffic. It is ludicrous to contemplate a citizen of London nervously apprehensive that his County Council may fail to possess as much business capacity as a provincial District Council !

AUTHORITIES. (1) Report of Statistical Department, London County Council, to the Rivers Conisoittee : originally made 25th October 1895, and amended, added to, and republished July 1900.

(2) Abstract of accounts and other information received from (a) General Manager and Secretary of the Clyde Navigation Trust; (b) Clerk and Solicitor of the Wallasey Urban District Council ; (3) Ferries Accountant of the Birkenhead Corporation.

FABIAN MUNICIPAL PROGRAMS. First Series (Nos. 30 to 37).-The Unearned Increment. London's Heritage in the

City Guilds. Municipalization of the Gas Supply. Municipal Tramways. London's Water Tribute.' Municipalization of the London Docks. The Scandal of

London's Markets. A Labor Policy for Public Authorities. Second Series (Nos. 90 to 97).—Municipalization of the Milk Supply. Municipal

Pawnshops. Municipal Slaughterhouses. Women as Councillors. Municipal Bakeries. Municipal Hospitals. Municipal Fire Insurance. Municipal Steamboats

. Each series in red covers, price id. each, or gd. per dozen. Separate leaflets, 15. per

100, or 8s. 6d. per 1000. For these and other Fabian Tracts apply to the Fabian Society, as below. Printed by GEORGE STANDRING, 7 and 9 Finsbury-street, London, E.C.; and

published by the, Fabian SOCIETY, 3 Clement's Inn, Strand, London, W.C.






“The tolls for the maintenance of a high road cannot with any safety be made the property of private persons." —ADAM SMITH.

"The charge made for services which cannot be dispensed with is, in substance, quite as much compulsory taxation as if imposed by law. . . This applies to the case of a road, a canal, or a railway. These are always in a great degree practical mona polies, and a Government which concedes such monopoly unreservedly to a private company does much the same thing as if it allowed an individual or an association to levy any tax they chose, for their benefit, on all the malt produced in the country or on all the cotton imported into it."— JOHN STUART Mill.




"RAILWAYS are, in their origin, public highways." This is the dictum of the Railway and Canal Commission. It expresses a great historical fact. The original conception of the railway company was very different from that which obtains to-day. In the beginning of the railway era, the idea was that the railway company would provide a permanent iron road, along which the old firms of carriers and private traders should be at liberty to haul goods for a payment to the company of so much per ton per mile. In this way, and for some time, an active competition prevailed between the different firms of carriers upon the iron road, just as previously a real competition had subsisted between them on the old cart roads. But then the promoters of each particular road became their own collectors and delivery agents, hauliers and carriers.

Getting Rid of Competition. They squeezed out the firms of carriers, and established a com plete and rigid monopoly upon each line. Their extortions became scandalous, and Parliament was induced to provide a “remedy"which was, in the end, probably as bad, if not worse than the disease—at least in its effect on rates. In its peculiar wisdom, Parliament granted to rival promoters rights

to promote what they were pleased to call “competing systems." For a few years a keen competition prevailed among the "competing lines," but as Robert Stephenson rightly told Parliament, where "combination is practic able, competition is impracticable." Of course, combination between the rival lines was practicable, and it came quickly. Then the farmers and traders found that they had to pay interest on the several capitals of the so-called “competing lines " instead of upon one as before. This they had to do in still more extortionate rates, and so the process has gone on to the present day. Competition has been gradually squeezed out between the different companies by means of amalgamations, pools, subsidies to other companies and rate conferences, until at the present moment, with a few unimportant exceptions, the railway companies are welded into one vast monopoly. To the ordinary onlooker, who sees many outward and visible signs of competitive machinery, it is a little difficult to realize that there is practically no active competition among the different coinpanies. While admitting that there is no competition among them in the all-vital matter of rates, the companies allege that there is an effective “competition in facilities.” This, in fact, is only true to a very limited extent, and chiefly in the matter of passenger trains. În respect of goods traffic, the phrase is a pretty little euphony that has not the merit of being accurate. In the case of goods traffic, at least, competition in facilities means a multiplication of wastes for which the traders and the consumers have to pay. It embraces the zealous regiments of canvassers who wait upon customers, the erection of a large number of handsome warehouses in the same place which can only be partially utilized, the provision of large surplus teams of horses and drays by each company "to meet emergencies," and the running of three or four short half-filled trains from the same place to the same place, at the same time, instead of one heavy and fully loaded train.

The leakages in this direction are simply enormous. But you must add to them the expenses of the many separate directorates, with all their attendant paraphernalia ; the running of many passenger trains but fractionally filled by several companies where one would suffice; the movement of nearly as many empty as full goods trains, so as to escape the demurrage charged for remaining upon a neighbor's line more than three days; the huge expenses of promotion and litigation. All this waste falls as an extra burden upon the customers in higher rates and fares.

High Rates and Fares. The Irish railway rates and fares are the highest in the world. This is of striking significance. According to such recognised spokesmen of the present railway régime as Mr. Acworth and Nr. Grierson, the high rates and fares in England as compared with the Continent are largely due to the much greater primary cost of construction in England than elsewhere. If this contention were really sound, then Irish rates and fares ought to be about one-third of English, for while the English lines have cost on an average £45,000 per mile to construct, the Irish have cost only & 14,000. Mr. Acworth has also alleged that the great disparity between the passenger fares in the different countries is due to the fact that the prices of commodities vary with the purchasing capacity of the community. It has been further contended by the apologists for the existing order of things that where rates and fares are lower on the Continent than in England, it is because of the slower services. Again, therefore, for these two reasons, rates and fares ought to be much lower in Ireland than in England, because the purchasing capacity of its people is much lower, and the speed of the Irish trains is, on the average, barely up to that of most Continental countries. Nevertheless, the facis in Ireland are completely at variance with these theories. Taking the goods rates first, we find that they are frequently 40 and 50 per cent. higher than for corresponding goods and distances in England.

Even taking the average the difference is startling. According to a recent Government Return the following were shown, on the usual basis of comparison, to be the comparative rates in the three countries :

England ....

5 64 per ton.

S. d.



37 6 71


d. England

2 73 per ton. Scotland

Ireland Thus for minerals the rates in Ireland are just about 200 per cent. more than in Scotland, and nearly 160 per cent. more than in England. The result of these excessive rates has been seen in undeveloped mineral resources, retarded industries, and frequent ruin of farmers and traders. Let anyone who doubts this turn to the piteous evidence given before the Irish Industries Committee and the different Committees which have sat to revise rates.

The rates are often so prohibitive that where a trade is not entirely annihilated, it is sent by road. As far back as 1865, a Royal Commission, presided over by the late Duke of Devonshire, reported that it was cheaper for Irish farmers and cattle dealers to drive lean stock by road than to send it by rail. And no substantial alteration has been made from that day to this. A number of cases were cited by witnesses before the Select Committee on Irish Industries in 1885, and repeated before the Revision of Rates Committee in 1890. But not only is stock sent by road, there is also, as Mr. Waring assures us, a continuous road traffic in general merchandise between Irish towns which are connected by railways. Mr. J. S. Jeans declares that-"There scarcely appears to be any room for doubt that the industrial development of Ireland has been greatly retarded by the want of proper railway facilities. The country is not without considerable mineral resources. It is said to contain deposits of sulphur, iron, tin, copper and zinc ores. Professor Sullivan, who had enquired into the prospects of these several resources, informed the Royal Commission of 1867 that the railway charge for the transport of sulphur ore from the Vale of Avoca to Kingstowna distance of only 393 miles-was 50 per cent. on the actual value. The same authority stated that the zinc mines of Nenagh would have sent out three times the quantity of mineral if they had only got proper freights from the railways. Many similar cases could be cited." +

The amount of cartage done in Ireland along routes traversed by railway lines is almost incredible. Even for distances of twenty and thirty miles the road is found to be preferable to the rail. There are many roads in Ireland along which traffic passes in a continuous procession, notwithstanding that railways run parallel to them, and are worked to no more than perhaps a tenth of their carrying power.

Before the Revision of Rates Committee, 1890, Mr. J. E. Biggar (Londonderry), a dealer, who stated his annual purchase of pigs amounted to between 30,000 and 60,000, declared that his firm had to close Clones and several other markets on account of the high rates. Mr. Boyd, Hon. Secretary of the Ulster Provision Curers

* Return of Expenditure and Receipts per Mile of Railways in the United Kingdom, 1896.

Railway Problems, page 395.

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