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BRITISH RAILWAY STATISTICS. Returns just issued cover two years—1859 and 1860—and show the annual traffic of all kinds, and the annual working expenditure, in the bulk and in detail. The first thing we remark is the largeness of the totals, showing immense social and commercial activity. There were at the end of 1860, 10,433 miles of railway in use, or 431 miles more than in the previous year. The total passenger traffic over these lines was 163,435,678, or 13,678,384 more than in 1859. If we analyze this we find that third-class passengers constitute more than one-half of the whole, a fact pointing to the influence of low fares and the development of excursion traffic. If we take the separate returns of England, Ireland and Scotland, we find that in England the proportion of third to second-class passengers is less than two to one, whereas in Scotland it is six to one; but Ireland only one and third to one. There would, therefore, appear to be a wide field for the development of third-class traffic in England, and still more in Ireland, while in Scotland third-class travelling is general, for even the second-class passengers are outnumbered by the first. Another characteristic of the returns is brought out by a contrast between the movement of goods and of live stock. In each of the three great divisions of the United Kingdom there was an increase of goods traffic in 1860 over goods traffic in 1859. But in the transport of live stock there was, on the whole, a decided falling off. Fewer cattle, fewer sheep and pigs were carried over the English lines. In Scotland there was a similar decrease, except in pigs. In Ireland alone the transit of cattle exceeded that of the previous year, but the sheep and pigs were fewer. These figures speak plainly of the severity of the winter of 1859–60. In Ireland alone there were 76,520 pigs and 18,650 sheep less transported by railway than in 1859. The deficiency of traffic from these sources was made up by an increase in all others—more passengers, more minerals, more merchandise of all kinds. The figures show that the severity of the winter decreased, but did not arrest the tide of general prosperity.
The total returns from all sources of traffic in 1859 was £25,743,502, and in 1860 this was increased to £27,766,622. If we turn to the table showing the working expenditure, we find some striking figures. The actual cost of working 10,433 miles of railway in the United Kingdom is £13,189,368. In this item are included £2,437,362 for maintenance of way; £3,801,282 for locomotive power; £3,699,708 for traffic charges, (coaching and merchandise ;) and no less than £181,170 for "compensation,” a charge alone of 1.37 per cent. The great items of expense are thus :-maintenance of way, locomotive power and traffic charges; but repairs and renewals of carriages and
up the £1,118,784, and there is a comprehensive item of £1,068,521 for our old acquaintance,“ sundries.” Thus it comes about that the proportion per cent. of expenditure to the total revenue is, in England, 48, in Scotland, 44, in Ireland, 45 per cent. Scotland, therefore, seems to have the most cheaply managed lines, and Ireland, where railways pay no government duty, exceeds by one per cent. the Scottish cost of management. These enormous figures explain the comparatively low dividends of railway companies; for the £14,561,118 available for division has to be distributed among the shareholders who have contributed the £330,000,000 of capital sunk in our railways.—Globe.
IMPORTANT TO RAILWAY COMPANIES. A case of great importance to railway companies and railway travellers has been finally decided, after protracted litigation. A person named David Keys brought an action against the Belfast and Ballymena and the Londonderry and Coleraine Railway Companies for the sum of £1,890, the value of a box of watches which he had entrusted to the care of the guard, and which could not be found when he arrived at the end of his journey. The companies resisted the claim, on the ground that the plaintiff was a second-class passenger, entitled to carry only ordinary passenger's luggage, and that they could not be responsible for property not booked in their office. A jury gave Keys a verdict for £1,261. An appeal was made to the Court of Common Pleas, which confirmed the verdict, and then to the Court of Exchequer, which agreed with the judgment of the Common Pleas. The companies then appealed to the House of Lords, who have decided that the companies were not responsible; thus reversing the judgment of the courts below, and giving a lesson to travellers not to run risks for the sake of a small charge on booking valuable parcels.
STEAM ON COMMON ROADS. The bill to regulate the use of locomotives on common roads in England has now become law, and is expected to lead to important results in cheapening the transit of heavy goods. During the last thirty years great efforts have been made to use steam on common roads; but, incredible as it may seem in a country whose prosperity is inseparably connected with an early use of every such facility, they have been perseveringly defeated by the opposition of the local trustees, who have imposed prohibitory tolls. Two years back, an experiment to convey coal by a traction engine from Little Hulton to Manchester, a distance of seven miles, is understood to have proved not only that an immense saving could be effected, but that the wear and tear of the road was diminished; yet the toll charged amounted to 4s. per ton, against 3fd. per ton for coal drawn by horses; and this, of course, effectually prevented the introduction of the system. The new bill assimilates the tolls to be charged, in a great degree, to those charged for horse traffic; and, although it comprises various regulations, which will probably be found to be more or less needless or vexatious, it seems sufficiently wide to enable the method to have at last a fair field.—London Times, August, 1861.
EUPHRATES VALLEY - THE ROUTE TO INDIA. It is not too much to say that there is no existing or projected railroad that can for a moment compare, in point of interest and importance, with that of the Euphrates Valley. It brings two quarters of the globe into juxtaposition, and three continents, Europe, Asia and Australia, into co-relation. It binds the vast population of Hindostan by an iron link with the people of Europe; it inevitably entails the colonization and civilization of the great valleys of the Euphrates and Tigris; the resuscitation, in a modern shape, of Babylon and Nineveh, and the re-awakening of Ctesiphon and Bagdad of old. It will also settle the mail route to and from Australia and China-an element of prosperity of very great importance—for the passenger traffic from the Australian colonies exceeds one hundred weekly, and, ere the railway can be completed, will be five times that number; of whom more than half will take the shortest route, while the number of emigrants, from this country, who will prefer a passage of forty to over eighty days, may also be fairly expected to be very large.
According to Sir John MACNEILL, who was assisted in the survey by Captain Burgess and the officers of Her Majesty's steamship STROMBOLI, there is every facility for making a harbor in the vicinity of the ancient port of Sileucia, near the mouth of the Orontes, and the country via Antioch, Killes and Ailam, to Aleppo, ninety miles in length, presents no engineering difficulty. By making a detour, a rich settled country, dotted over with towns and villages, is accommodated, and branch lines would be unnecessary. A large traffic is already in existence, as the toll books at a bridge on the Orontes show that about 1,200 camels and horses laden pass each day. This will be the most important portion of the railway from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf; the sink from Sileucia to Aleppo is in itself a complete work, having a port at one end and the chief emporium of Mesopotamia at the other, to which the traffic from India, Bagdad, &c., converges. Or, should the railway be carried on to the Euphrates, sixty miles beyond Aleppo, by the route recommended by General CHESNEY and Sir John MACNEILL, there would be a still more perfect work of about one hundred and fifty miles in length, beginning at a port in a great sea and ending at the head of a navigable river in a greater ocean. This would be of itself, and by itself, a complete, perfect and profitable enterprise ; not only would a new country be opened up to European enterprise, but a directness in the route to India obtained, which few would believe who do not work it out on the map.
Taking the line of the Austrian railways to Trieste; thence by rail to Jabor Castle, down the stream of the Euphrates and by the Persian Gulf to Kurrachee, where the Scinde, the first complete Indian project, commences the future network of Indian lines, the traveller will follow a route as direct as any railway can be expected to afford. Eight days and six hours will take the traveller through Trieste to Sileucia; thence the railway will take him, in five hours, to the head of the navigable waters of the Euphrates. Three days and three hours more will see the river voyage completed to Bussorah; and three more days--making in all fourteen-bring the traveller to Kurrachee, where the Scinde keeps the western door of the railways of our Indian empire. Like most of the other railways for which India is indebted to Mr. Andrew, this line from Sileucia to Jabor Castle, though complete in itself, is regarded by him as the parent of further projects, whose construction will depend on the success of the parent line, and will gradually lessen the distance between the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf. Thus he would extend his works by degrees along the valley of the river by Phumsah, the ancient Thapsacus; cross thence into Mesopotamia, working down the valley by Annah and Hit to the environs of Bagdad, and thence by Babylon and Hillah to the point where the Tigris and the Euphrates
join at Kurnah, and the united stream becomes deep enough for steamers of the largest size. Other branches, too, might top the Persian Gulf at Scherster, or at Bussorah, where the trade is extensive, and the accommodation for ships of large tonnage already ample.—London and China Telegraph.
THE TELEGRAPH TO THE PACIFIC. According to recent accounts of the progress of the Pacific Telegraph line west of Great Salt Lake City, it appears probable that the entire line will be in full operation in November, 1861. It is the intention to establish twenty regular operating offices between Salt Lake and the frontier offices, to be ever prepared for accident or unfortunate malice that might cut the line. It is said that the Mormon chief and his counsellors and immediate friends have turned on this Western line every team and man at their disposal, to secure the completion of it before the first fall of snow, if possible. The line was completed from Fort Kearney to Julesburg in October, making 350 miles from Fort Kearney and 1,050 from St. Louis. The section between Julesburg and Salt Lake City was in operation on the 18th of October. From Fort Churchill, in the Territory of Nevada, to which the lines already extend from the Pacific coast, the gap towards Salt Lake City is rapidly closing, and the western section will doubtless be completed as soon as the eastern section. The only hindrance yet caused by the war has been the necessity of sending wire, for about 200 miles of the line, around by way of Nevada, instead of through Missouri.
THE ATLANTIC CABLE. The report of the Atlantic Telegraph Company states that in the cable recovered and brought home by Captain Kell, there was not the slightest symptom of deterioration or decay in the gutta percha. It had been subjected to a very severe electrical test, and a comparison between its present state of insulation and the records of original tests of the most perfect portions of the cable when it left the gutta-percha works, three years ago, showed that an actual improvement had taken place in its condition since it was laid down.- Chemical News.
THE MALTA AND ALEXANDRIA CABLE. The following is an extract from a letter dated Malta, June 8th : first section of the Malta and Alexandria cable, 230 miles in length, was laid without a single accident or check of any description. After joining the cable to the shore end at Tripoli, which had been previously laid by the steam-tug Bulldog, despatched a week in advance, the Malacca, accompanied by the Medina and Scourge, proceeded along the coast eastward towards Benghazi, which is to be the next station. Nearly 300 miles more of cable were thus laid eastward, forming a part of the second section, the end being hermetically sealed, carried into shallow water and buoyed. This operation was as successfully performed as the first.
The entire length of between 500 and 600 miles has since been carefully tested, and found to work admirably it is even said, with a smaller amount of electric power than any cable yet submerged.
STATISTICS OF TRADE AND COMMERCE.
I. THE LAKE TRADE. II. COMMERCE OF BUFFALO. III. THE CORK TRADE. IV. TEADE OF TUR-
THE LAKE TRADE.
The statistics of vessels arriving and clearing at Buffalo during the quarter ending September 30, 1861, make up a larger exhibit than has ever before been recorded in the history of that city for a single quarter. The figures are as follows:
The Secretary of the Treasury has forwarded the following circular to collectors at the lake ports :
Treasury Department, August 16, 1861. “Sir,--I have been officially informed that it is customary at several ports on the lakes to issue clearances to vessels after their departure, and to send them by mail to the masters, so that they may receive the same on arrival at the place of destination. A rigid enforcement of the strict letter of existing laws, not adapted, in some respects, to the peculiar exigencies of the trade on the lakes, would doubtless place it under many embarrassing restrictions. I can, therefore, perceive no objection to officers of the customs extending every facility and convenience consistent with the laws, and not incompatible with the interests of the revenue.
“The practice, however, of granting clearances under the circumstances stated, involves a serious departure from the law, and you are accordingly directed immediately to discontinue the same if prevailing at your ports, and to conform to the sixteenth and seventeenth sections of the Coasting Act of 1793, and insist upon a faithful compliance therewith by the masters of the vessels engaged in the trade between the several ports of the United States on the lakes.
“I am, very respectfully,
“S. P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury."