chapter  Chapter XVIII
16 Pages

The Railway Dilemma

ByRobert E. Wright, Richard Sylla

The Royal Commissioners of 1867 dealt with railways chiefly in the interests of the travelling and goods’ sending community. ‘The speeches of earlier railway legislators bear witness to their belief that time would produce a gradual lowering of fares as companies became more prosperous, and as the transportation of passengers or goods became more regular, and less costly.’ The immediate cause, not merely of the present crisis but of the generally low value of ordinary stocks, is, as already stated, currently attributed to the inordinate, and apparently inexplicable, appetency of railway companies for fresh outlay. The feeling is indeed common that the investor who continues to hold railway ordinary stock evinces great boldness. It may possibly be asserted that it is idle to argue on the supposition that fees are the sole inducement to good management on the part of directors, as some of them are large proprietors.