chapter  IV
16 Pages

Railway Capital and Expenditure

British economists have generally distinguished between capital and land because in an old country, long settled, land, unlike capital, cannot be increased in quantity. To start a railway, initial expenditure of wealth in the form of capital is required, and then each year, to keep it in working order, an annual expenditure is incurred. The capital invested by British railways in rolling stock amounts to about £155,000,000, representing about 13 per cent, of the total capital exclusive of some £36,000,000 representing private owners' wagons. Annual expenditure is the money disbursed out of earnings to meet the recurrent charges for working and maintaining the railway. Gross receipts consist of the total annual income obtained by a railway company from all kinds of traffic and from the various ancillary enterprises. In practice fluctuations in the value of the shares are generally governed by the prospect of dividends, as indicated by the weekly variations in the published traffic receipts.