« AnkstesnisTęsti »
parallel its own tracks from Concord. to Nashua, and the electrification of the Portsmouth & Dover branch of its road was contemplated. During the following year earnings increased about $270,000, having reached approximately $552,500.
The next important development, and perhaps the final one, took place in 1902, and was that known as the "Lovell System." Mr. Lovell, as agent of the New Hampshire Traction Company, had acquired or produced the electric railways and other properties of the Exeter, Hampton & Amesbury; the Amesbury & Hampton; the Haverhill, Plaistow & Newton; the Haverhill & Plaistow; the Seabrook & Hampton Beach; the Dover, Somersworth Somersworth & Rochester; the Portsmouth & Exeter; the Hudson, Pelham & Salem; the Lawrence & Methuen; the Haverhill & Southern New Hampshire, and the Lowell & Pelham Street Railway companies; and the Rockingham County Light & Power Company; the Granite State Land Company, and the Canobie Lake Company.
These companies experienced many of the hardships of lines constructed in sparsely settled sections, but they were destined to perform an important role in the transportation service of the state. Re-organizations were effected; the Exeter, Hampton & Amesbury went through foreclosure proceedings and was sold to bondholders' committee in March, 1908; the Portsmouth & Exeter was abandoned and its tracks torn up, and in 1913 there was merged into the Massachusetts Northeastern Street Railway Company the various street railway companies of the original "Lovell System" in New HampIshire and Massachusetts. Due to Federal Law the Dover company is not an integral part of the North
The attitude of the state legislature in dealing with its street railways has been that of a willingness
to assist. Charters were freely given and for a long time were not restricted as to when they should be exercised although that practice terminated in due course. Under the general law, companies were exempted from taxation for ten years, but at the expiration of that period, and more particularly in the depression following the World War, many were finding themselves in a position where the payment of a "state tax" was a real burden. Many of the companies had nothing left from earnings and credits had been seriously impaired. To meet this situation the legislature of 1919 passed a bill under which a corporation which had not, under efficient management, earned sufficient money to pay its operating expenses and fixed charges, including taxes and excluding interest on its indebtedness, and to provide for necessary repairs, and maintenance of its properties and adequate reserves for depreciation thereof, may be exempted from the payment of taxes and to the extent and subject to the limitations of the act. This was a timely assistance and the relief offered has come at the most opportune time.
In convening here to-day and such occasions come not too closely together, a perfectly natural interest is aroused as to those who have been identified with the industry in our state. An effort has been made to obtain as much data as was possible concerning those who have been active in this work but the difficulty in obtaining it is doubtless realized.
We all rejoice with our host, Mr. Foster, in rounding out these fifty years of railroad service-it represents a wonderful service in the interests of the public. Mr. Foster was general manager of the Lynn & Boston companies and later president of the New Orleans Railways. He came to Manchester January 1. 1912, at which time he was elected president of the Traction Company.
Associated with Mr. Foster has been Mr. J. Brodie Smith for whom we certainly have a warm place in our hearts. Mr. Smith was the first superintendent of the Ben Franklin Electric Company which commenced business in the fall of 1896. The first alternating current, incandescent lights used in Manchester were put in operation by the Manchester Electric Light Company under his direction, and he also set up the first electric motor used for power purposes in Manchester. Gen. Charles Williams promoted the Manchester street railroad properties and in the old days N. H. Walker was superintendent, later being located at Salem, N. H., and finally returning to the circus business.
The Concord company was launched under the leadership of one of its most substantial citizens and former mayors, Hon. Moses Humprey. I doubt very much if Mr. Humprey Humprey could be termed a promoter. I knew him quite well. It is but natural, possibly, that I should find myself in the street railway business as my father superintended the building of the first car used on the lines of that company.
The lines of the New Hampshire Traction Company interest were promoted by Mr. Wallace D. Lovell, and for a short time after Mr. Lovell's retirement they were presided over by Mr. Howard Abel, one of Mr. Lovell's experts.
Mr. Lovell conceived the system of railways bearing his name and it was through his efforts that the money was secured from the bankers who, after the investment of great sums in the various enterprises, took over their management and control and organized the New Hampshire Traction Company as the holding company for their securities. Mr. Abel was selected by the bankers to organize and complete the systems, but he was not either friendly to Lovell nor was his presence welcome.
Following the early struggle of those properties the New Hampshire Traction Company was succeeded by New Hampshire Electric Railways, and Mr. David A. Belden was elected president, both of the parent company and its subsidiaries. Mr. Belden is a man of broad experience in the railway industry, in operating as well as financial matters, and to him is due the credit for the perpetuity of the greater portion of the "Lovell" system With Mr. Belden was associated Mr. Franklin Woodman, who came to the properties in 1900 as general manager. Mr. Woodman was of an untiring disposition and it was due to his natural qualifications as a railroad man that the patrons of the road were so efficiently served. Mr. Woodman retired in March, 1917. since which time Mr. Ralph D. Hood has served as vice-president and general manager. Mr. Hood was identified with early street railway construction in New Hampshire acting in the capacity of engineer for the "Lovell" interests, and with him was asociated Mr. Arthur W. Dean, resident engineer in charge of lay-out and construction between Nashua and Haverhill, Mass.
Mr. Dean later became Chief Engineer of the New Hampshire Traction Company leaving that office to become Engineer of the State of New Hampshire and still later of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The Exeter, Hampton & Amesbury has had a more or less checkered career. It sponsored many of the railway projects and financial troubles were early encountered. At one time Mr. Warren Brown was president, and in 1898 Mr. A. E. McReel began his association with the property which continued for some four years. By legislative authority in 1919 the towns of Exeter, Hampton, Hampton Falls and Seabrook were authorized to purchase all or any part of the properties and assets and of the shares of stock of this company.
The outcome of this municipal operation will be followed with inter
The Concord and Portsmouth companies are under the management of the Boston & Maine Railroad. The superintendent at Concord is Mr. John B. Crawford, and at Portsmouth, Mr. William E. Dowdell is in charge. The Dover company is a subsidiary of New Hampshire Electric Railways, its local superintendent being Mr. L. E. Lynde, one of our active members.
The Nashua company was ganized in 1885, and during its career was operated for a while under lease to the Boston & Northern. At the expiration of the lease it returned to operation by its owners and is at present under the direction of Mr. Engelhardt W. Holst, an engineer-manager.
In passing we should not fail to recall Hon. John W. Sanborn, commonly known as "Uncle John," opposed to the granting of street railway franchises presumably because of the competition they would arouse with the steam roads; neither should we overlook Hon. Henry M. Putney, former Railroad Commissioner, and from whose astute pen came so much of extraordinary interest in his editorials both officially and otherwise.
But the public mind is rapidly is rapidly undergoing a change. The outcry against excessive capitalization which has so often been heard has a standing no longer. Regulatory laws which have brought utilities and communities into closer relation have been adopted by many states. To-day we are hearing more of “a reasonable return on capital honestly and prudently invested." Where excessive capitalization has existed the regulatory bodies have insisted upon a gradual writing off so that actual capital and fair present value are
coming more closely together. The public has come to recognize the growing usefulness of the services of utilities, and the utilities have responded by an increased insurance against failure to function. A city or a town may get along with a poor municipal government but it cannot live without a good transportation service.
The street railway business in the United States is one of the largest enterprises. Mr. Hoover surprised the people with the statement that the electric railways directly employ 300,000 workers, and that they purchase materials and supplies amounting to $500,000,000 per year. Surely these are factors in the economic life of the nation. During this past month the thirty-fourth anniversary of the birth of the modern overhead trolley found the financial conditions of city electric lines improving but it is to be regretted that this improvement has not reached the interurban lines.
New Hampshire has taken no steps in so-called cost-of-service legislation providing for the continuance of service in sparsely populated sections. State or municipal ownership has not proved highly successful and the business is too hazardous to warrant the adoption of laws by our legislature under which assessments would be levied on those communities wherein assistance is necessary to make railway operations successful. cases where public authorities do not consider the continuation of a transportation company as longer being necessary for the accommodation of the public then that line should be abandoned. The next few years may witness such a
The total operating revenue of 180 companies in 1921, representing more than 50% of the total industry in the United States, amounted
to $457,500,000, as compared with $650,000,000, for the entire industry as reported by the United States Census for 1917. With a return to normalcy undoubtedly traction lines will enjoy renewed prosperity. One bright spot in the result appears in the lower operating ratio in 1921-these percentages were reduced from 78.4 in 1920 to 75.2 in 1921. This condition results from economies in operating expenses and efforts of the operating departments to effect savings wherever and whenever possible. Net operating revenues show increase of some $14,000,000 af
fording an increased purchasing power to railways, to railways, and results should be apparent in an improvement in railway credit. All industries were not hard hit at the same time and they will doubtless revive in like manner. Many lines of business are showing an improvement, our own already displaying that tendency. We should not allow ourselves to be pessimistic today and optimistic optimistic to-morrow,we should have our steady nerve with us all the time, and that if we have a reaction we should know that it is only temporary.
By John Rollin Stuart.
"Lover tarry, here is moonlight-
"Know tonight the moon's affection
"Sorrow craven, you are banished,
Thus we hear a midnight whisper,