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Clinton, from 24,000 to 36,000 barrels, say 30,000 barrels each, and the other mills say 30,000. This estimate would give 90,000 barrels of flour yearly, which, at 3 cents a barrel for the five miles, would yield $2,700, or at 21 cents, would give $2,250. The wheat that would probably be sent off in bulk, is estimated at 80,000 bushels, which at one cent a bushel, would give 8800, and estimating all the up freight at say $1,000, it would make the gross receipts, without a cent for passengers, or for carrying the mail, about $4,000. Alter deducting one half for expenses, and $600 for over estimate, we still have remaining the seven per cent interest upon the appropriation asked for. From what cursory personal examination the board have been able to give to the proposed extension, they are satisfied of the correctness of the above data.
In the vain attempt to bring forwaru all the produce which has been brought to the Central Railroad, since the late abundant harvest, 7 locomotive engines, and 96 cars and racks have been running night and day, for 3 months. The disaster at Lowell, no doubt occasioned some accumulation of flour and grain at the western stations early in Sept. Nevertheless, the character of the road, and the limited number of our engines and cars must have prevented the prompt removal of freight, had there been no such impediment. The board are fully convinced, that a Railroad through the central tier of counties to be used for freight, and the stock of which should be good to its owners, and achieve the object of its construction, must be built in the most substantial manner, and laid with a heavy T or H rail. The best of flat bar roads are of too slight a structure for a heavy freighting business, (such as must ever be done upon the Central road,) as they soon get out of repair and become so uneven, that trains passing rapidly over them, are liable to be, and often are, thrown off the track. The repairs of machinery and cars consequent upon a rough road, even where they are so fortunate as to keep the track, is at least four times greater than the like repairs of machinery and cars running upon
the smooth and solid surface of a T rail. The Lancaster and Harrisburgh railroad company report the annual expenditure for repairs, at four hundred and twenty-five dollars per mile, upon the plate rail portion of their road, while the repairs upon that part laid with the T rail was only seventy-five dollars per
mile. It may be proper to say that this statement which is believed to be correctly made, rests upon recollection, and is not made on reference to the printed report, none being at hand. The Reading rail road, which cost ten millions of dollars, is enabled to make money for the company, although the cars on their return trips are generally empty. The price of freight upon this road is lower than upon any other road in the United States. The cost of transporting coal, including repairs of engines and cars, for ninety-four miles upon this road, is less than forty cents per ton of 2,240 lbs., and the average load per engine is one hundred cars, laden with three hundred and eighty tons. The average cost of renewals and repairs of freight cars, as appears in the company's report of last year, is 5-9 cents per ton hauled. The average cost per ton on the C. R. R., including repairs of engines and cars, is 92 15-100 cents.
The expenses of the freight and passenger train, inclnding repairs of road and wear and tear of machinery upon the Fitchburgh railroad, as appears by the company's report of 1844, is 28 8-10 cents,
every mile run by locomotives. It should be remarked that this road was entirely new, and that it was not in operation for the twelve months preceding the report, but a part of that time. Total number of miles run by locomotives, fifty-five thousand three hundred and twenty-four.
By subjecting the Central Rail-road to the same test for the fiscal year now closed, it gives the expense of running the road per mile, 61 8-10 cents; whole length of the line in operation some portions of the year, is one hundred and twenty-three miles—the number of miles and the period of time following, to wit:
Detroit to Ypsilanti, 30 miles, since Feb., 1838.
123 miles. By making a just allowance for the greater dilapidation of the Central road, and of the machinery and cars, on account of their having. been much longer in use, than the before mentioned road, the Legis
lature will readily discover how much greater is the expense of doing business upon a plate road, than upon a T or H rail-road.
A full load for an engine running upon our track at the rate of ten miles an hour, would be trebled in amount, and the speed increased to twenty miles an hour upon a T rail, while the expenses of running, independent of repairs, which have been included in above estimate, would be one third less than they now are. The extraordinary faci. lities given by a well built T rail-road for the cheap and rapid transportation of freight, overcomes, in a great degree, the inconvenien. ces and draw-backs of a residence in the interior, remote from the natural channels of trade. Whether rail-roads are fit only for the purpose of pleasant or rapid travel, or are indeed valuable for the transportation of all the articles of commerce, is a question no longer doubtful or unsettled; even the history of our own imperíect roads is a development of the wealth and resources of our country, which, but for their existence, would at this moment be unselt and unknown. It has afforded the settler far distant in the interior, the means of ra. pid intercommunication with his remote fellow citizens, thereby bind. ing him more strongly to our infant state and its ir:stitutions. It has largely increased the value of property, by diminishing the cost of transportation of the productions of the mill, the farm and the manufactory; it has made yaluable the otherwise nearly valueless water. power of the interior ; it has given a healthy stimulus to trade in crude and ponderous mineral and agricultural productions, and has led to the purchase and settlement of our public lands, and the in: crease of our population and taxable property. To the central counties of this state, blest as they are with a highly productive soil, an extensive water power, great mineral wealth, and a salubrious climate, a first class rail-road is of vital importance. Flour, which is and always must be one of the great commercial staples of this state,should be transported from the interior, (say Calhoun county, for example) to Detroit river, or to Lake Michigan, for a sum not exceeding thirty cents per barrel. Upon a light plate road incident to the casualties and expenses heretofore named, the price per barrel cannot be much less than sixty cents. The marshal for taking the census of Calhoun county, reports the wheat crop of that county at 459,110 bushels. This would make one hundred, two thousand and twenty-four barrels
of flour, at the rate of four and a half bushels to the barrel, and at the present rate of transportation, (sixty-five cents per barrel, it would cost sixty-six thousand three hundred fifteen dollars and sixty cents, to land it at the terminus of the rail-road in this city,
The published rates of transporting flour in 1844, from Albany to Boston, were as follows: Albany to Worcester, 156 miles,
28 cts. per bbl. Albany to Boston, 200
30 cts. The pro raia charge for carrying flour from Marshall to Detroit, 110 miles, at the first rate above, would be nineteen and three fourths cents, and at the second rate sixteen and one half cents. Making a difference to the farmers of Calhoun county, upon their late the highest price charged by the Western Railroad, of forty-six thousand one hundred sixty-five dollars and eighty-six cents, and at the lowest rate, forty-nine thousand four hundred eighty-one dollars and sixty-four cents, A like proportionate loss is suffered upon all the marketable productions of the interior, and to all the counties sending their surplus productions to market over the Central Railroad. The whole crop of Calhoun county is deemed surplus only for the use of example. It would be desirable to know definitely the sure plus quantity of wheat and other productions in the counties of Jackson, Calhoun and Kalamazoo, and exhibit the actual loss to the producers of those cauņties, consequent upon forwarding upon a plate, rather than a T rail road. That, however, cannot be ascertained, but the Board entertain the belief that it is not less than one hundred and iwenty-five thousand dollars, and to al lthe counties doing business upon this road an amount larger than the interest upon the cost of both the Southern and Central roads. This statement is based upon the presumption that the business of the country can be done upon a plate railroad. The experience of the past year, however, dissipates entirely this idea. Although the most unwearied efforts have been made to clear the roud, it has been impossible to do so. This circumstance at one time drove wheat out of the market, even for “goods,” at, at least two of the most important wheat markets of the west, and even when it commanded cash, there was not as much spirit and competition among purchasers as could be desired. The only thing that can give stability and prominence to the wheat market
of the central counties of this state is the early improvement of the railroad in the manner suggested. It may not be imperatively necessary to lay the T rail upon the whole line immediately, but the Board do not hesitate to recommend the reconstruction of the road from Detroit to Dexter at the earliest possible moment, and the remaining portion in sections of thirty miles each, to be annually rebuilt until it shall have been thus constructed, at least as far west as Battle Creek. Beyond that point a plate road might answer for a few years; and yet we doubt not, the true policy of the state demands a continuance of the construction of a T railroad to the mouth of the St. Joseph river, so soon as it shall be permitted by the internal improvement fund. In submitting these reflections to the legislature the Board do not lose sight of the fact that the revenue from our public works is pledged by legal enactment to the payment of the interest accruing upon a portion of the public debt, and hence cannot be used in the reconstruction of the Central road. This consideration, however, does not deter them from suggesting improvements, which they deem infinitely desirable and which sooner or later must be made. The Central railroad of this state may not be ina ptly compared to the Erie Canal of the state of New York. It is and must forever be the great channel of business for the central tier of counties, and one of the indispensable and most important links in the great chain of communication between the Atlantic cities and the Valley of the Mississippi. It is confidently believed that in one or two years at farthest, a substantial railroad will be in successful operation on the northern and southern shore of lake Erie, upon both of which freight will be transported at all seasons of the year, thereby immensely enhancing the passage and freighting business of the Central and Southern roads. To avail ourselves of this increase of foreign business, and to be fully prepared for the timely transportation of our annually increasing crops as well as the large importations of merchandize which must pass over the road, we again respectfully repeat that it must be entirely rebuilt.
In view of these facts, it remains with the legislature to adopt such measures as will secure to our citizens doing business upon our Railroads, a cheap and certain market. By the provisions of the amended constitution, money cannot be borrowed by the legislature for any purpose, without the consent of the people; and it may be con