Railway Rates in Practice
In the fixation of railway rates the principle of differential charging is applied in a modified form by means of the various classifications. These are mainly based on the values of the different commodities, though other factors, such as cost of handling, speed of conveyance, or the amount sent at a time, are also taken into consideration. Though in practice the theoretical principle of charging what the traffic will bear is considerably modified, the possibility of enforcing a classification rests largely on the possession of a partial and limited monopoly. The Rates Tribunal has decreed that the gradations for goods by merchandise train shall be the first 20 miles; the next 30 miles; the next 50; and the remainder of the distance. The complexity of the British railway rate structure is greatly increased by numerous exceptional or special rates lower than the standard rate for the particular commodity.