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Official Proceedings of the New York Railroad Club


The PRESIDENT—You will please come to order, gentlemen, and I want to thank you for your generous attendance tonight, as it indicates that the interest in our Fall meetings has begun in earnest.
The attendance, having been provided for by the cards, the roll call will be omitted as usual, as will also the reading of the minutes of September 17th, which have been printed and distributed to members.
As you are aware, at the November meeting we shall have the election of certain new officers of the Club, and inasmuch as it is necessary to provide tellers of unquestioned integrity to see to it that there is no stuffing of the ballot boxes, we have endeavored to pick out three tried and true men. They are: Jacob S. Henry, William J. Boucher, and Frank L. Morse.

At the September meeting an announcement was made of the innovation by the Society of Railway Club Secretaries in publishing in the back of the proceedings a schedule of the papers of the different railroad clubs throughout the country, so that it may be known in advance what subjects are to be presented at the various railroad club meetings, in case, as we suited at the last meeting, club members who arc travelling about the country might be interested in these subjects and attend the meeting of the club in the various cities where they may be visiting. The October proceedings, the Secretary tells me, will have a little more information than is contained in the back of the September proceedings.

The technical paper of this evening is by Mr. W. R. McKeen, on the subject of “The Value of Motor Cars on Railroad Systems.” Many of you who are here tonight have heard Mr. McKeen’s forceful speaking, and therefore needs no introduction from me. Mr. McKeen, will you please step forward.

Mr. W. R. McKEEN — I had the pleasure of addressing this august body (side note, august body is an old term for someone esteemed or respected some eight years ago, when motor cars were in their infancy. Since that time we have collected quite a little material in the way of statistics. In fact, there is quite a “maze” of statistics, and in presenting this paper this evening I will only call attention to a few facts without burdening you with the figures. It is sometimes very difficult to compare figures, but by using a little horse-sense we can get at the facts. Based on ten years’ study of the subject I have made a few observations from which I think the deductions are absolutely fair to all classes of railroad service, and the facts are about as they are stated in my paper.

I call particular attention to the use of the motor car in connection with mixed trains. They are particularly valuable in this service for the reason that a mixed train, as we all know, is a very unsatisfactory method of railroading. The motor car, as I state on the third page of my paper, forms a very economical service and there is a substitute for train service on branch lines where the passenger service is not sufficient to pay operating expenses of a locomotive to haul the train. The low cost of operation makes the motor car particularly valuable on such lines. The supplementary service of the motor car on railroads is not so apparent in dollars and cents as it is to the travelling public. Both the local and the through service are benefited. It feeds and helps the through service and renders it unnecessary to stop heavy through trains, and if you can schedule the local service to suit local travel, increases local business.

We have had some interesting experiences in putting motor cars in service on the main line operating overland trains of ten or twelve passenger cars. It not only stimulates travel in general on that particular part of the line, but such service is able to more than pay expenses, and is a great relief to the heavy through trains.
Now, a great many branch lines run a single car service a day and it is not sufficient. A gasoline ear under these conditions operates very economically and efficiently in connection with the passenger trains and usually increases the business of the passenger trains as well as building up the business locally.

I mention on the fourth page of my paper an instance of the economic principles which show where the gasoline car pays where the steam locomotive did not pay. If a train is only partly loaded the operating expenses will eat up the profits. This is more true with passenger trains than with freight, and I attempt there to call attention to the fact that a great many of our local passenger trains are now operated with only about one-third loads, and, of course, that is not profitable.

There is one point in connection with gasoline motor cars which has been raised during the last ten years and that is the question of what we are going to do when the consumption of gasoline is above the supply and the cost gets up to the prohibitive point. I have contended for a good many years that when the cost goes up we will have improved the carburetor in such a way that we will be able to change the quality of our fuel and even today in our powerful automobiles we are able to use a gasoline of a lower gravity, as we call it, and it is very economical. There is scarcely a day passes that I do not examine two or three new carburetors. They are bringing them out all over the country. With the addition of heat we can turn low grade gasoline into the cylinders with successful results; but the heat is hard to regulate. But a reasonable amount of heat can be used to a great deal of advantage.

You have all been interested, I suppose, in the eight cylinders and twinsix automobiles and the different variations of engines which show the tendency of the day is towards the short manifold pipe. I made some experiments last week that seemed to justify me in the opinion that the short manifold pipe is a development of greatest importance. It does away with the condensing of the fuel in the pipe between the carburetor and the cylinders. We are just experimenting today with a six cylinder machine without any manifold pipe and I think the time is not far distant when your troubles and trials with the long manifold or with any kind of manifold will be entirely eliminated. I think the general tendency today of using a large number of cylinders or a greater number than six cylinders is a move in the wrong direction. It is my idea that you can get fully as good results with the six cylinder engine as you can with a greater number. We will then have a short route to the use of kerosene. It is only within the last week that we experimented with a heavy car starting it with gasoline and then putting on coal oil, with very little appreciable difference. That was, of course, after the engine was hot, and the only difference a man could observe was that the engine had a little more power, if anything, than with the gasoline. (Applause)

The Value of Motor Cars on Railroad Systems

A celebrated and very distinguished railroad authority, a high official of one of our greatest American trunk lines said: “I would like to find some responsible operating official who could, with a reasonable degree of accuracy, tell me what it costs to haul a passenger one mile. I have never found one yet in all my experience.”
Another Transcontinental Railroad Passenger Department executive official stated in my presence—that his road did not receive any profit whatever from passenger train service until the earnings showed approximately one dollar per mile.

Another railroad director and financial representative, stated their road had three hundred branches on which every passenger train they operated lost money.

While it is true competent authorities are at times inconsistent in their expression of costs and profits of passenger train service, yet with the present standardizing of railroad accounts and a careful analysis of performance, operating forms—studied with regard to local influences and conditions—one can reach the facts, and I think I am safe in saying very few if any three-car passenger trains are operated at a profit—and branch line passenger trains and the passenger coaches on mixed trains are a source of financial loss every day, the whole year through. The heavy fixed expenses of passenger train operation are too high and too great to be offset by the limited and restricted passenger receipts; with mixed trains the situation is even worse.

At first thought, it seems that to place a passenger coach on the rear end of a freight train, provide passenger seats, etc., and thereby have the advantage of additional revenue to help offset the operating expense of the freight train, is good economy and indicates a thrifty management. As a matter of fact, however, a mixed train as a rule is a source of trouble, and represents false economy with no visible benefits other than being, as it is, an expedient, and a poor one at that. A mixed train’s schedule that suits the passengers as to leaving and arriving time, is as a rule disadvantageous to the freight and stock shippers—the passenger stops slow up the freight time; the freight stops make tedious delays to the passengers-—the train crews run into overtime—the service becomes uncertain, unreliable and is poor railroading at best, and never will be a source of profit and satisfaction.

The financial success and universal popularity of the trolley car is not so absolutely the result of its operating on the city streets picking up passengers at street corners; on the most successful interurban electric systems the passengers are taken aboard at depots or central stations just the same as steam railroads take their passengers. The interurban cars stopping on city street corners is a detriment to electric car service, just the same as doing local work with 12 and 15 car steam through trains is bad railroad practice. The electric interurban cars with frequency of service, however, can be scheduled—their time between points, their leaving and arriving time, to suit the convenience and “please the public” and in consequence they get the business. Thus I reach the subject matter—THE GASOLINE MOTOR CAR—a transportation unit filling a natural want; meeting an already expressed demand by the General Public—it offers ways and means of earning profits on branch lines, where the present steam service loses money.

It has a great value to railroads operating mixed trains—same can be divided—two services, it is true, instead of one—but both on an acceptable as well as revenue earning basis; the motor car will stimulate increased passenger travel and a 50 to 100 per cent, increase thereby is easily attained in six or twelve months, resulting in a handsome increase in passenger earnings; at the same time, the freight train is scheduled and operated to suit and please and economize on freight business— cost of operation is reduced and the improved service always tends to better freight earnings.

The branch line passenger business responds most actively to gasoline motor car service—the motor car can make road crossing stops, pick up one or two passengers at a time, stop more often and maintain the same average speed as the steam train; the absence of cinders, smoke and tar are attractive features—the equipment comforts over that of a steam train, or a jolt wagon on a bad highway or even an automobile are such by comparison as please and attract the public, and new business and stimulated increased travel is the usual result wherever gasoline motor car service is installed.

Often on branch lines the public having one passenger service a day is much dissatisfied (and sometimes justly so); petitions and demands two services per day—the single service loses money, the railroad cannot consider doubling or trebling their present losses by putting on double passenger train service; and yet a disgruntled and “sore” localA’public is not desirable—here then the benefit of gasoline motor car service is appreciated. The Gasoline Motor Car as the new or second service, not only can operate at a profit, but frequently stimulates and increases the travel on the steam train. It is a constant complaint of motor cars —that they are too small—originally a 30 ft. car could handle the business, then a 55 ft. car was more than ample, next a 70 ft. car seating 105 people was thought to be more than ample, but history goes on just the same, the gasoline motor car is always too small, in other words, the gasoline car always increases and continues to stimulate and increase travel. The 70 ft. car having stimulated and increased business beyond its capacity, we have recently inaugurated the GASOLINE DOUBLE UNIT MOTOR CAR SERVICE—the baggage, mail and express on the front or the power car and the passengers in the second car. However, where a 70 ft. car is loaded to capacity, I believe additional service is the economical and preferable practice—the additional service continues to not only stimulate travel, but the rate of increase is also stimulated.
While gasoline motor cars are more necessary to branch line service, they also are a source of much economy on main lines. One portion of a through line of a large railroad system was through a sparsely settled country—the fast through trains were doing the local work with the usual poor irregular arriving time and general unsatisfactory service; a gasoline motor car service was inaugurated running about 40 minutes ahead of the through train, the express, mail, and passengers were collected from the small stations and deposited at the terminal where the through train picking them up, carried same to destination—the motor car made reasonable profits—the local business increased about 60 per cent., but the improved time, the regularity of arriving at destination ON TIME, the greater comfort and satisfaction to the through passenger service was of more real value than the increased profits of the operating sheets.

I have in mind one branch line operated for 30 years without any profit earning passenger business—the officials said the branch would never pay—foolish to have ever built the branch line. With gasoline motor car—there are now two motor car services daily with two coaches instead of one on the mixed train; besides the freight train is now scheduled at times and places suitable to the freight and stock business and the pleased and delighted freight shippers as a result are a valuable asset, outside of the improved freight receipts.
I have in mind another sixty-mile road where the passenger train service showed a deficit since the road had been built—in thirty days after the gasoline motor car had been substituted for the steam train the passenger service showed a profit—the cost of operation had been cut over 60 per cent, and the favorable showing has been maintained ever since, some eight years or so.

An operating official once said: “It’s not the forty or fifty loaded freight cars per train that make the success of railroading, it’s the four or five extra loads we add on the rear end that make the dividends; and same is true—the total volume of railroad business drops off and immediately we have a situation as at present—sacrificing curtailment of expenses, diminished profits and cut dividends, receivers, etc. Worked to capacity—full load—volume of business—all so important and so recognized to freight train and general railroad service, is equally applicable to passenger train service, but is so often ignored. For example:
From annual reports I notice the average number of passengers per train was 33, 30, 31 and 34 for four successive years; in other words, one-third of a load; on another road with excellent local business the average for three and four car trains was 37 passengers; another road shows 40 passengers per train, including, however, ten and twelve car through trains. On most branch lines the averages will run down to 20 passengers and at times below. Manifestly, then it is uneconomic to operate a locomotive, three cars, full engine and train crew with all the inherent fixed expenses and only use same to one-third capacity; and right here is the explanation and simple at that—why a single unit, a gasoline motor car handling the same business can make money where the steam train loses; the gasoline motor car has demonstrated the economy and profitable practice of separating railroad business into classes, enabling thereby each class to enlarge at the same time each class to be handled at a better profit.

The gasoline motor car affords every operating advantage, such as speed, comfort and safety to the traveling public—frequency and adaptability of service—which arc as good if not better than any other kind of transportation equipment, and in addition it has greater economy, greater facilities per cost and more attractive features than any other kind of transportation vehicle—all of which enables it to compete with steam train as well as interurban electric line service.
I had the pleasure of addressing this Club on the motor car subject back in April, 1907, at which time I called attention to the structural features of the motor car bodies, and in closing this subject—I would like to cite—the time and place seem opportune—-two features of car construction that the ten years’ practical service seems to demonstrate and substantiate:
1st. The single steel center sill in place of the well established double center sill construction in wooden cars. A single steel center sill will develop all the strength necessary or required and therefore its simplicity, economy and desirability, reinforced by its successful operation in practice, shows the fallacy of using two sill design where one will answer. The steel center sill in motor car structure I figure is three times as strong as two standard wooden draft sills.
2nd. The gasoline motor cars were among, if not the first, all-steel passenger cars built, and notwithstanding their comparative light weight have shown remarkable strength and safety characteristics. These cars are so constructed that the load is almost entirely carried and borne by the sides of the car and not by the sills, and in ten years’ experience I have never known one of them to sag; even after years of hard and fast service over the rough track of branch lines, the alignment of the side sills is as near as we can measure the same as when the car left the shop originally.
The high railroad tribunal of today-—the State Railway Commission, in its report to the Governor of one of the states, particularly emphasizes my conclusions, and states as a result of its detailed analysis and investigation of gasoline motor car operation:
“We found that the installation of the motor car had increased the gross passenger revenues of the branch by 33 per cent.” And further states: “That the cost of operation of the motor car shows an economy of approximately 60 per cent, over that of train service.”

The PRESIDENT—Mr. McKeen is no doubt familiar with the puissant tendencies—whatever they are—of some members of the Club, and he will no doubt avail himself of the opportunity which will be afforded him to reply to the heavy artillery after the assaults have been completed. In other words, Mr. McKeen, you will have an opportunity to reply in rebuttal.

The discussion will be opened by Mr. Arthur W. Jones, of the General Electric Company.
Mr. ARTHUR W. JONES—I feel very humble, coming forward to address you as an outsider just after you have heard from a real railroad man, and I fear I can add but little to what you have read in Mr. McKeen’s paper and to those things he has just told you so lucidly, but I have thought you might perhaps be interested in the investigations that have been made by the General Electric Company along lines somewhat similar to those which Mr. McKeen has so ably described.

We started manufacturing self-propelled cars for steam railway service some six or eight years ago, and have developed the art in some respects along different technical lines than those pursued by the McKeen Motor Car Company, of which Mr. McKeen is the head. But we are both aiming in the same direction and have the same ultimate object in view. The difference in our cars it will not be necessary to describe or explain as you are all doubtless familiar with the fact that while the McKeen motor car employs sprockets, clutches, etc., to transmit the power of the engine to the axle, we use electric power to accomplish the same purpose, driving both axles of the forward truck by standard railway motors. Whatever may be the difference in the engineering features of the cars they are both primarily designed to meet the well-known demand for economical, reliable and acceptable service on branch steam railroad lines. You railroad men probably know much better than I do of the many hundred branch line burdens of our great railroad systems. There are a vast number of such lines in this country today traversing a territory too lean to permit paying service with a two or three car steam train, and which indeed probably never can pay under the same operating conditions as now obtain. It is primarily on such branches that the motor car finds its usefulness and it has been developed to fulfil the requirements of this service.

But, in addition to the service on branch lines there exists, as Mr. McKeen has explained, a field for these cars operating between stations of considerable size on main lines—stations so situated that the local traffic between them cannot be adequately cared for by through trains without in a measure disorganizing the through service.
There is a third class of service which is well adapted to the use of motor cars. That is the small individual line on which the traffic is not dense enough to warrant electrification with its relatively high capital cost nor extended enough to justify the high operating cost of steam locomotive service. On such individual lines the motor car can be used successfully, where steam or electrification might fail, and it is really surprising how low the operating cost becomes. So there are three classes of service to which the self-propelled car is well adapted.

I have in mind three classes of railroads which have employed our cars, but first I want to speak of the one and only trouble that we have in rare cases experienced in connection with the use of our gas electric cars on some railroads—the difficulty of assimilation, if I may use the word, arising from putting into the hands of a steam railroad engineer a piece of machinery like a gasoline motor car or a gas electric motor car containing an engine of a kind with which he is entirely unfamiliar and which, like any other piece of machinery, may give trouble unless it is given that thoughtful care and maintenance to which it is entitled.

Coming back to the three classes of railroads that use these motor cars: The first I have in mind is the small road of one or two hundred miles in which the officials have an intimate acquaintance with and interest in their equipment, and where the engineer feels a proprietary ownership and pride in his car. On a railroad of this character, one can, without fear of trouble in service, put these motor cars in use knowing that they will be given the reasonable care they require and repay this attention by a reliability unknown in steam service and at a remarkably low operating cost. Then second we come to the large railroad “system” where a number of motor cars are employed, requiring a motor car department, or at any rate an inspector, a man who is individually responsible for the operation of the cars and under whose guidance they will receive proper attention. Under these conditions motor car service is a sure success. The third class comprises railroads of intermediate size, not large enough to warrant a department or inspector and yet not small enough to secure the personal interest of the officials in the equipment. It is of roads of this character that I say in rare instances the motor car fails of immediate assimilation and possibly at first excites neither the interest of the engineer nor the attention of the management. But on such roads we have found that-after the officials begin to appreciate what the service means to them the cars then get that measure of attention which every piece of rolling stock, from a wheelbarrow to a racing automobile, requires for its proper operation.

When we entered the motor car business we made very careful estimates of operating costs and in the years which have followed we have found that these estimated figures have been more than borne out in actual experience, indeed, so low have been some of the costs given us by railroads operating our gas electric equipment’s, that we have felt some anxiety for the laurels of the trolley car.

I do not know, Mr. President, whether it would be proper at this meeting to bring forward actual figures of operating costs. I don’t wish to burden your members with statistics but I have many figures here showing actual operating results and as they have been of much interest to us I would like, with your permission, to give a few of them. I am not going to read the whole book (referring to book.) (Laughter.)

I have before me a letter from an operating official of a road employing our cars, each of which averages about 230 revenue miles per day. In this letter it is stated that for the year’s service each car has earned net $22,161, after paying all operating costs, including wages, fuel, lubrication supplies, repairs, depreciation, general office expense and proportion of maintenance of way charges, indicating that the cars have nearly paid for themselves in one year. Not a bad showing for a branch which under steam service was, I understand, by no means so successful.
Since the first gas electric motor car was shipped from our works they have made a record of nearly eleven million train miles. I speak of train miles because, in many instances, the motor car draws behind it a trailer, sometimes an ordinary railway coach and at other times a car built of steel and of the same general design at the motor car, making a train of two cars.

Inasmuch as the question has arisen with regard to the cost of repairs and maintenance of motor car equipments I think it may be of interest to you to know that we have collected authentic figures from reports of motor car service covering 1,600,000 train miles, the average cost of repair and maintenance being 2.35 cents per train mile, this figure including the cost of such periodic overhaul as may be required. The figures we have at hand covering this mileage are not, in regard to other costs, prepared on a uniform basis and we have, therefore, had to be satisfied with a somewhat less mileage for other direct operating expenses. We have, however, detailed reports all prepared on a practically uniform system of accounting covering 752,965 train miles of service of our gas electric motor cars. The roads included in these figures are:
Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Ry. Co.
Quanah, Acme & Pacific Ry. Co.
Missouri & North Arkansas R. R. Co.
Chicago, Peoria & St. Louis R. R. Co.
Midland Valley R. R. Co.
Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry. Co. ,

New Orleans Great Northern R. R. Co.
St. Louis & San Francisco R. R. Co.
New Iberia & Northern R. R. Co.
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Ry. Co.
St. Louis Southwestern Ry. Co.

I think I am betraying no confidence in giving you the average figures covering, as I have said, a total train mileage of 752,965 made by 43 gas electric motor cars on these lines. These are as follows:
Average cost fuel                                                                  $.0540 per train mile
Average cost lubrication                                                        $.0062 ” ”  ”    ” ”   ” Average cost total repairs, labor and material                         $.0282 ” ”  ”    ” ”   ”
Average cost all wages, including motorman, conductor
and porter, brakeman or trainman when same are employee    $.0885 ” ”  ”    ” ”   ”
Average cost cleaning car, including ice, coal, etc                    $.0058″ ”  ”    ” ”   ”
Average cost miscellaneous supplies, etc                                $.0042″ ”  ”    ” ”   ”
TOTAL AVERAGE OPERATING COST                                    $.1869″ ”  ”    ” ”   ”

In connection with the cost of fuel per train mile I have in mind Mr. McKeen’s remarks with regard to the fear that existed in the minds of railroad men, of the possibility that the ultimate cost of gasoline might be prohibitive. About two years ago this fear might have been natural as at that time gasoline was selling in bulk at fourteen to eighteen cents a gallon, but this high price was only temporary and now a grade of gasoline quite satisfactory for use in our engine ran be purchased for 8 to 10 cents per gallon and we see no indication of any increase.

It is a favorable indication, that, as these cars continue in service year after year, instead of the operating cost going up, as many thought it would on account of the increased cost of fuel and repairs, it is as a matter of fact coming down, due possibly to the increased familiarity with the equipment.
Mr. McKeen spoke of the difficulty of getting accurate costs and mentioned the well remembered remark of the railroad authority who said he had never succeeded in securing from any responsible operating official an accurate statement of the cost of hauling a passenger one mile. I can hardly believe that this ignorance exists with respect to the operating costs of motor cars. A new equipment, involving a radical departure in prime motive power invites unusual interest in vital statistics and we have found on many railroads that most carefully segregated costs are kept of every item of expenditure and we cannot believe that they are other than accurate. (Applause.)

The PRESIDENT—Mr. Jones, I am sure the figures will be very interesting and useful and I shall be glad to have you furnish them for our Official Proceedings. I will next call on Mr. H. D. Emerson.

Mr. H. D. EMERSON—I believe that it is usual in certain meetings of railroad men, and I believe of temperance people and women suffrage people, to give their experiences, and while I have no detailed figures I have a few instances in a few particular cases in the use of motor cars which I would like to give you.
An epigram is a most dangerous argument. In the hands of the ignorant it can be used to confound the mighty. Many years ago one of the ablest railroad men then living summed up the economic principle governing the making of railroad rates as “all the traffic would bear.” This phrase is in large part responsible for the unfortunate difficulties of American railroads resulting from ignorant legislation and prejudiced advice. The phrase inflamed the public, and it was many years before it was analyzed and thoroughly understood. In fact, for a time many practical railroad men disclaimed it. But today we know that “all the traffic would bear” means a rate which should enable the shipper to make a profit out of the service performed. We know that if rates are too high and profit to the shipper ceases, traffic falls off. If, on the other hand, rates are too low and the railroad does not make a profit from selling its transportation, that is, performing the service, the railroad gets into financial difficulties. We know that the cost of the transportation of an article or a passenger has nothing to do with the rate which can be obtained for performing the service.

Mr. McKeen— repeats a quotation which has been used with more or less success by many debaters, but the gentleman who originally asked the question was evidently as much of a humorist as the celebrated French king who propounded the question as to the weight of a bucket of water and a fish. This question as to the cost of a passenger mile is just as reasonable and as sensible as what is the height of a passenger.

Again, it is disheartening to have repeated the old bromide that there is a definite cost per train mile or a definite profit per passenger train mile. The facts arc that each railroad is a case into itself; that passenger cost and passenger profit must be separately determined in each instance. It is due to such spacious arguments as these that passenger service has remained practically without change for the past twenty-five years. It is to the discredit of our railroads that while electric transportation has been developed and taken a permanent place in the economic scheme of the world, that while automobile transportation has also been developed and become a definite factor, and that while air transportation has been begun, the handling of passengers on the steam railroads in the United States has not only not generally improved, but in many instances, from the viewpoint of the passengers, has deteriorated. It may be answered that all of these methods of transportation are new developments and that they are addenda or collateral to railroad transportation, that they supplement the service furnished by the railroads and that the railroad passenger service cannot be improved. If this is the case, why is it that it has been improved, again speaking passenger-wise, in a few instances, and to further shame to the railroad men, steam transportation by water has been revolutionized in the past twenty five years.

The first great economic development other than the gradual growth of American railroads occurred when Mr. T. J. Odell laid down the law and developed the practice of maximum trainloads. He demonstrated, in practice, that large trains and large cars were much more profitable than the smaller cars and trains, which had been the practice before. Immediately this was demonstrated all railroad managements attempted to put it in practice, and they ran it into the ground and carried it into a “reductio ad absurdum” {reduction to absurdity}. Even in freight traffic, it will be remembered, orders were issued for maximum train loading to the point where the locomotives were overloaded, time was lost, and traffic actually congested instead of expedited.

In the same way, the principle was applied to the conduct of passenger transportation and carried to the absurdity of taking off local trains on main lines and compelling heavy through expresses to make many local stops for few passengers. This attitude of mind and lack of attention to that element of railroad transportation, proper service due the public, resulted in the cutting off of many local passenger trains, and they have not been restored.
When, in 1907, Mr. McKeen addressed this club and predicted the improvements to passenger traffic which would result from the use of a unit motor car, there were many that had hopes that a particular part of the passenger service on steam roads would get its just attention, and as a result would return its proper profits to the corporations. It was and is admitted that there is a large profit in handling passengers in what is generally called “local territory.” There are many railroads whose financial success was founded upon the success of this proposition, and there is no one to gainsay that the proper handling of passengers is a profitable business.

Also, it is admitted that a large majority of the steam railroads of the United States have gradually withdrawn from this field of local transportation and have concentrated their energies in developing equipment and plant to furnishing another, an undoubtedly profitable form of transportation, the handling of freight. So when Mr. McKeen and the General Electric Co. announced that they were prepared to furnish motor cars, people interested in the traffic of smaller lines and living on branch roads sat up and took notice, and said “Now, at least, there will be no reason or excuse for not utilizing the rails which we have to carry passengers who desire to be transported.”
And now, eight years afterwards, Mr. McKeen comes again before this Club and repeats in large measure the arguments produced at that time, but to the great grief and disappointment of the students of this form of transportation does not give us the facts connected with the development of the motor car, as seen from his viewpoint.

It would be extremely interesting if Mr. McKeen would tell us exactly how many motor cars he has manufactured and how many are in use today. It would be extremely instructive to receive accurate statements as to the cost of individual cars, with the operating expenses and the receipts. This data would be more illuminating and convincing if specific localities were mentioned because the motor car, like the railroad, must be studied in each instance, and averages and generalities lead to vicious conclusions and unprofitable investments.

I want to say that I am not propounding these questions particularly to Mr. McKeen; that they apply with equal force to his competitor, the General Electric Co. As a matter of personal experience, I have endeavored a number of times in the past four years to obtain prices and data from these companies which would enable me to recommend to clients the use of motor cars. I have reported on at least a dozen railroad propositions in the past few years where, theoretically, motor cars would be of great profit to the railroad, would be of tremendous advantage to its patrons and would produce cash results for the stockholders. But as a consulting engineer I am confronted with a lack of information as to the performances of these cars. My clients are freely told by railroad men that the McKeen car is particularly hard on track and that it requires a high order of technical ability in the motorman. I was told, although I do not believe it, that the General Electric car was abandoned because it was too hard on the track and because competent men could not be hired to run them at the price the company was willing to pay.
The principal argument advanced for the adoption of the motor car was that it would cost less to operate than a steam train. This argument being admitted, we passed over the necessary corollary that the primary cost would not be prohibitive. Perhaps the reason that motor cars at the present time have been adopted only, or perhaps it is more accurate to say in large part, by the big systems, is because of the primary cost.

The price asked by Mr. McKeen and the General Electric Co. makes the cars which they offer prohibitive to the small line which is weak financially. I will cite an instance: I was invited to make a report and recommendations to improve the traffic on a line 60 miles long, terminating in a city of about 200,000 population. At the present time its traffic is handled by one passenger train into the city in the morning and out in the evening, and by a mixed train which leaves the city in the morning and returns in the evening. With this meagre service passenger earnings have developed to $58,000, or nearly to $1,000 per mile per annum. The mixed train, as so well stated by Mr. McKeen, is in this case very unsatisfactory. But at that we found that it was earning upwards of 20 cents per train mile. We immediately figured on replacing the present trains with 2 motor cars, which would more than double the present service and would equalize the facilities in both directions so as to enable people to travel from any point to any other point on the railroad and back, in the morning and in the afternoon. We figured that the cost of this service would not be much greater than the cost of the present schedule and that the returns to the railroad company in satisfying the people and the naturally increased traffic would produce a larger profit. An incidental by-product of this improved schedule was that freight could be handled on non-scheduled trains. The line is so short that the freight service can be practically a switching service and its expenses be increased or diminished directly in proportion to the traffic offered. But, unfortunately, this railroad, like many others, is not sufficiently strong financially to provide large sums of cash, and the question of investment became the important one. Without going into exact quotations, the kind of car desired could be purchased from Mr. McKeen’s company or the General Electric Co. for, we will say, $22,000. Whether the price was a little above that or a little below does not matter. The total investment in motor cars necessary to operate a schedule which demanded two cars would be a minimum of 3 cars, or an investment of $70,000. An examination of the costs on this railroad developed that train mile cost for passenger trains had for several years been 25 cents, and a careful survey of the situation developed that if increased passenger service were offered this cost would be brought down to 23, or possibly 21 cents, which is about the same indicated in the generalizations offered by Mr. McKeen’s company or the General Electric, as the cost of their cars. So here is. the proposition for the management of this railroad to settle: Would they borrow $70,000 for the purpose of installing motor cars, or would they borrow $25,000 for the purpose of purchasing second-hand locomotives and passenger cars, the cost of operation in both cases being about the same? Worked out in tabular form per train unit the figures are as follows:
One second-hand locomotive                      $5,000
Two second-hand passenger cars               $3,000
Total investment                                       $8,000
Locomotive repairs—1 year                        $1,500
Depreciation, 1/10                                    $800
Interest at 7%                                         $560
Car repairs                                               $150
Total                                                       $2,910 Cost McKeen car $22,000
Depreciation, 1/15                                    $1,466
Interest at 7%                                         $1,540
Total                                                       $3,006

So it will be seen that the cost of a McKeen car at $22,000, unless it operated very materially less per mile than we have been given to understand that they do, would not produce any greater profit than the purchase of locomotives and cars, at a very much less cash amount. This, Mr. President and gentlemen, is the crux of the motor car situation as it stands at the present time. I am very much afraid that Mr. McKeen has had his viewpoint so close to the mechanical excellency of the internal combustion engine that he has not been able to see the viewpoint of the users of motor curs. In the same way, the General Electric Co. have developed a beautiful piece of mechanism, and I am thoroughly of the opinion that anyone who can afford to buy it and operate it in service to which it is adapted would find it extremely profitable. But I think that both of these companies have lost sight of the fact that primary investment is as essential a factor as operating efficiency, when considering the necessities of what is admittedly a thin traffic proposition.

The facts are, that both the General Electric Co. and Mr. McKeen have got away from the original idea of the motor car. They represent the Winton and the Packard and the Stearns of the automobile trade. What is wanted is a “Henry Ford” for railroads. What is desired is an efficient car which will run two or three years without any repairs except those which can be made by the operator, and which can be purchased at a price so that it can be thrown in the scrap heap at the end of that time. With a standardize! car of this kind on the market there is not a branch road which would not have one, and many main lines could use them to advantage to supplement the regular service. And a car of this kind can be built from materials which are now being manufactured and whose efficiency and cost has been determined. The materials which enter into a one-and-a-half ton truck would make and excellent chassis for the kind of car under discussion, and a closed body with cross seats and drop glass windows can be purchased for this chassis for about $600.00, so that at the present time $1600.00 to $1800.00 would purchase what might be called a “steam railroad jitney,” and the master mechanic can be certain of the mileage which he will get out of it and the general manager would know definitely what it will cost to operate.

Within 25 miles of this hall there is a steam railroad now laying idle, and has been laying idle for two years because of lack of knowledge or initiative of the people in control of the property. Operating parallel to it are motor busses which must take in not less than $1000 per month in order to pay operating expenses, and as we were told that the bus service was very profitable, it is safe to assume that the earnings are double that amount. In other words, here is $24,000 worth of traffic which can be handled on eight miles of existing rails, now doing nothing. I think it will be admitted by all that the cost of operating these motor cars on rails will be less than operating them on highways and over 5, 10 and 15 per cent grades.

Now, gentlemen, this is not an isolated case. If it were not violating professional confidence, I could give you a list of 15 similar cases that I have investigated in the past three or four years.
In common with many students of this transportation problem and with those who have to deal with it in connection with small railroads, we would like definite facts relating to particular situations where motor cars have been operated, so that in studying new situations we can determine the parallelism. It will be an advance to all of the railroads in the United States if some strong corporation will make a standard railroad automobile, with a capacity for from 15 to 25 passengers, which can be purchased at a moderate price and which should be operated at from 9 to 12 cents per mile. Mr. McKeen has progressed to a point where he is making trains, and I expect that he will continue to show the advantages of the internal combustion motor for railroads and large systems. So, unless Mr. McKeen is willing to go back to where he started, I think we should take him out of the railroad motor car class.
Perhaps I can explain my contention better by definitions. In fact, I think that definitions will show there is no contention whatsoever between Mr. McKeen and those who think as I do. In my mind, a railway motor car is a car which can be purchased for a minimum sum and operated in a particular traffic without loss. It must be so light that its movement over the rails will not cause any wear, as compared to the wear caused by the steam train. It must be so cheap that the primary investment will come within the limits of the smallest railroad. It must be as simple and fool-proof as the most popular of automobiles. It must have the same excellence of engineering design and perfection of manufacture as the aforesaid popular automobile. And last but not least, it should be sold at a price and on terms which are fair. This is perhaps a rather formidable program, but I believe that he who criticizes and tears down that which exists without showing how the things which he objects to can be corrected, is an undesirable and dangerous citizen. And as I do not desire to be classed in that category, I am prepared to show to all and sundry that a motor car for railroads which will comply with these specifications can be constructed and marketed at a profit for less than $1800, and will not cost to exceed 10 cents per mile to operate. I have been unable to obtain any statistics on the subject, but from casual remarks I am satisfied that there are as many Ford cars running on the railroads of the United States as there are McKeen cars. It certainly is not to the credit of the management of a railroad southwest of St. Louis that a livery stable keeper saw a traffic opportunity and embraced it, when he made a contract with the railroad company to take the pneumatic tires off his Ford jitney and operate it under trackage rights for eight miles on that railroad. He has demonstrated that a Ford can be operated in regular passenger service more cheaply on rails than it can on the highways. Now as a Ford was designed for the highways and not for use on the rails, it is obvious that a machine designed for the use to which it is to be put will be more efficient than one which is not.

The conclusion of it all, gentlemen, is that it is up to the managements of the railroads to make a special study of their lines, with a view of determining whether local passenger service is deficient and whether they can improve that deficiency by furnishing cheap but satisfactory and comfortable motor cars to run on rails. If the manufacturers of railroad equipment do not desire to do as the automobile manufacturers have, employ special brains to design the car, the railroads themselves can do so and purchase from the automobile parts manufacturers and from the car wheel companies ‘all of the component elements of a six or eight-wheeled 50 horsepower cross seated, glass enclosed, hot-air heated and electric-lighted vehicle which will run 20 to 30 miles per hour at a cost of about 10 cents per mile.

I have not said anything about the cheaper railroad motor cars which are on the market and of which I am told somewhere between 50 and 100 have been manufactured, because those which I have seen are so imperfect, from a mechanical standpoint, that they are not worth considering. They are like many of the gasoline section cars which have been offered for sale, look well, run all right for a time, but are made of poor material and are self-destructive. If the gentlemen who are manufacturing this kind of equipment will hire a few automobile designing engineers they could in a short time produce section cars and light motor cars which would have the same efficiency and wearing qualities as the automobiles produced by any of the larger automobile manufacturing companies.

The PRESIDENT—While, of course, no 42 centimeter missiles have landed in Mr. McKeen’s trenches, yet it is possible he is beginning to feel there is an attempt being made to render them somewhat untenable.
I will next call upon Mr. Roger B. Williams, President of the Central New York Southern Railroad.

Mr. ROGER B. WILLIAMS, Jr.—The essential difference between a Short Line Railroad and a Branch Line is that the Short Line has to pay its own bills, while a Branch Line has a fond parent to help out when necessary. Our road is a “Short Line,” hence the question of installing and operating motor cars was to us a serious one. We had no fond parent to stand the loss if the proposed new equipment should prove a failure.

Our road is approximately thirty-eight miles long, operating between Ithaca, N. Y., and Auburn, N. Y. It was proposed to replace one of our steam passenger trains in the middle of the day by two motor car trains, leaving the early morning and the evening trains, steam, as before. Later, if the traffic warranted it, two more motor car trains could be added without increasing the equipment beyond the two cars it was proposed to buy. Steam trains, morning and evening, could not be discontinued owing to the traffic, both express and passenger, exceeding the capacity of a motor car.

Before the cars to be purchased were selected, we made a careful study of every phase of the question, extending our investigations considerably over a year and studying the cars from the traffic as well as the operating point of view. Statistics were obtained from practically every road operating any type of motor car, as well as from all manufacturers whose names we could obtain, which of course included McKeen and the General Electric. Four different makes of cars were seen in operation and studied. The Histories of second-hand cars offered for sale, or recently sold were inquire! into to learn if possible any reasons for their being offered which would have a bearing on our selection.

The reports we received from other roads proved exceedingly interesting. In practically every case the traffic showed an increase, and in a number of cases markedly so. The operating costs varied widely with different roads, but generally speaking the cost of operation of the two principal makes of cars were the same. Selected reports on both straight gasoline and gasoline-electric cars could be found which would favor either make. One salient fact, however, was apparent with all makes—small roads whose motor cars were an important branch of their service and large roads operating a number of these cars showed considerably lower operating costs than large roads owning but one or two cars. The difference was too great and too constant to be attributed to local conditions of roadbed, or cost of labor or supplies. After considerable correspondence, and in some instances individual investigation and inquiry on the ground, the conclusion was reached that motor cars—being so entirely different from locomotives in construction and operation—must be as thoroughly understood by the men who run them and the men who repair and maintain them, as are locomotives. Otherwise both the operating costs and the traffic gains would prove decidedly disappointing. Mr. Jones very ably discussed this in its relation to repairs, but even more important is the effect on running costs and traffic. Interrupted service and delays are serious matters to the auditor of passenger receipts, and the traffic department is apt to find it difficult to boost a service that is knocked by train crews, shop men and disgruntled passengers alike, no matter how attractive in appearance the cars may be.

A locomotive engineer almost invariably has been “brought up” in his cab. As a fireman and later as an engineer, he has learned to know and recognize every sound—the engine is almost human to him. It whispers its troubles and he answers it by a tightened bolt here or a little oil there. Put such a man in the cab of a motor car, and an unfamiliar click or pound means nothing to him. We found a case whore a car had been pulled in off the road by a locomotive and shopped because the wire connection to one of the spark plugs had become loosened and the engineer was not sufficiently familiar with the principles of a gasoline engine even to look intelligently for the trouble.
Recognizing the importance, of a thorough knowledge of the cars on the part of the men who were to run and maintain them, which in our case was emphasized by our intention of utilizing our cars for high-class, limited service, we arranged with Mr. McKeen when we placed our order with him to place our master mechanic and our senior locomotive engineer in his shops for a month during the construction of our cars. Later these two men accompanied the cars from Omaha to our line at Auburn. That this policy was justified is shown by the fact that during the year these cars have been in service, they have averaged over 99% on time.

I feel somewhat embarrassed in trying to go into the details of the operation of these cars on our line for the reason that I did not appreciate until half past three this afternoon that I was expected to make any remarks, hence I am unprepared with statistics. I refreshed my memory with a few facts obtained by long distance telephone this afternoon, however, which I trust may prove of interest.

Our cars are 70-foot, straight gasoline type, all steel, motor cars. They weigh 38 tons, seat 83 persons, and contain a 9-foot baggage compartment. They have been in schedule operation since September 25th, 1914. The round trip including turning is approximately eighty miles, overcoming a lyi’/o grade for four and one-half miles at the Ithaca end and a maximum of 1 % elsewhere, and a maximum curvature outside of terminals of 4 degrees. The schedule calls for speeds up to 45 miles, but this is often greatly exceeded. Our gasoline consumption of 2.7 miles per gallon is surprisingly low, especially when it is remembered that on the heavy grades the motors are in second gear. We have had the usual run of repairs, and at the start one or two breakdowns. The first time one of the cars ran over the road a hidden flaw developed in one of the motor parts, which, of course, was promptly rectified by the MeKeen Company. Except for this and minor replacements made by the manufacturers in the first two or three months, all repair costs have been borne by us and have averaged for the year, 3.0 cents per mile. The average cost of operation, including engineer, conductor and trainman, fuel, oil and supplies, maintenance and repairs, has been for the period 15.5 cents per car mile. The monthly expenses of operation have steadily fallen, due to increasing skill on the part of the engineers in running the motors, and other economies suggested by experience. The interest and depreciation items, while proportionately large, we believe should be considered as not entirely part of the transportation cost. Of course, I am not referring to the required standard forms of accounting but discussing rather the effect of motor car operation on expense as a whole. The novel and extremely attractive design of the cars, the easy riding qualities with freedom from vibration and dust and smoke, the smoothness of starting and stopping, the safety and reliability of service, and the more frequent service have all had their effect on traffic, as the gains, even during this past year of generally decreased riding, have clearly shown. We have not shown increases of fifty to one hundred per cent, as Mr. McKeen states has been the experience in some cases, but we have shown satisfactory gains nevertheless. It seems proper to us, therefore, to consider part of the overhead expenses as a justified traffic expense.

As nearly fifty per cent, of the weight of the car is on the front pair of wheels, the cars soon found the soft spots in the roadbed. While this troubled us at the start we soon found that after the soft spots were corrected the cars were not as hard on the track as some other equipment which passes over the road, notably heavily loaded steel gondolas.

We experienced some difficulty with snow. When these cars are under headway their sharp noses cut the snow better and easier than steam locomotives. Gasoline engines, however, are weakest at the start, so in heavilydrifting snow at stations it was often necessary to back up to get a start. In doing so, snow would collect and pack under the motor, preventing backing more than a few feet. It is doubtful if larger roads, which can afford more expense in snow removal, would experience similar difficulty. Other than the difficulties in drifting snow, the cars operated as well in winter as in summer. The cars are satisfactorily heated by utilizing radiator pipes as cooling coils, and the system of indirect ventilation keeps the air fresh and sweet.

The motor cars being in reality trains of one unit each, are extremely flexible when necessary to pass other trains on sidings. Our experience has also shown that, having both steam and motor cars always available for service, a steam train with the necessary number of cars can be substituted at times when the traffic exceeds the capacity of the motor car. It would appear that, as the general traffic increases beyond the capacity of the motor car trains now in service, increasing the number of train units rather than the number of units in the present trains will give the best results. Increasing the number of motor car trains will accomplish this at much less expense than would result from the same increase in the number of steam trains. The study of operating costs will show when the limit of economy has been reached.

A number of roads with whom we corresponded before we purchased our cars emphasized the fact that motor cars would hold the rails much better than steam trains. Of course it is always to be hoped that no class of service will leave the rails, but if extraordinary conditions arise which would cause a steam train to leave the rails, but not produce the same results with the motor car, the difference in safety is something which warrants careful consideration. The reason for this characteristic seems to be clearly due to two facts. The shorter wheelbase of the front trucks of a motor car, on which rests over 50 per cent, of the total load, as compared with the long wheelbase of a steam locomotive, makes the turning moment much less with the former. In addition to this, in turning a curve there is a certain “snapping-the-whip” effect. In the case of a motor car the handle of the “whip” is the heaviest, while the reverse is the case with the steam locomotive, whose pony trucks are the first to make the turn.

We have found that the development of special train business has been greatly increased since the installation of our motor cars, and also that the cost of this service has been much reduced. Special train guarantees at one dollar per mile are possible and profitable with the motor car, and having adopted this rate, a number of special small excursions of from 25 to 75 persons—fraternal orders, churches, volunteer firemen, etc.—have been obtained which otherwise would have been impossible.

One method of advertising our motor cars has proven particularly effective. I refer to picture postcards illustrating the car, and describing in fine type which docs not interfere with the space reserved for correspondence the essential features of its construction. These cards are placed in the stations, in hotels, news stands, cigar stores, etc., for free distribution, and we find that they are being mailed very generally throughout the country, and even abroad. It has been interesting to note that in addition to diverting travel to our line, these cards have in a number of known instances brought curiosity riders from considerable distances. Gentlemen, I thank you.

Postcard Courtesy of Madison Kirkman, Note: This postcard was not part of the article.

The PRESIDENT—If the Central New York Southern Railroad meets all unexpected demands upon it as satisfactorily as its President has here tonight, I think its prosperity will be assured.
I will next call upon Mr. E. B. Dailey, Assistant to the Director of Purchases of the Union Pacific Railroad.

Mr. E. B. DAILEY—I doubt that I can add little if anything to what has already been said by Mr. McKeen and the other gentlemen preceding me. I had the good fortune to be identified with Mr. McKeen when the first designs of gasoline motor cars were worked out, cars built and placed in service, and naturally I am somewhat interested in the future of the gasoline motor car as a transportation medium. I think I am safe in making the statement that the Southern Pacific Lines have purchased and have in operation more gasoline motor cars and trailers than any steam railroad in this country. The Southern Pacific Lines have purchased approximately forty-two motor cars, and approximately nine trailers, and to the best of my knowledge and belief they are giving excellent service. This statement is based upon the number of repeated orders and service reports. It may be of interest to you to know that according to report from one of our lines covering the performance of gasoline motor cars for the year ending June 30, 1915, the McKeen gasoline motor car is run on an average of 2.4 miles to one gallon of gasoline, and according to report from one of our lines for the year ending June 30, 1914, there were no accident repairs on McKeen motor cars, which is evidence that these cars are practical, and like the automobile, beyond the experimental stage. While I do not have the figures covering cost of shop, running repairs and operation, I understand they are surprisingly low. With few exceptions, as I remember, the McKeen motor cars are equipped with a 200 horsepower gasoline engine of his own design. I have learned recently that the McKeen Motor Car Company has designed and built, and placed in service, a motor car equipped with a 300 H. P. gasoline engine, and I hope Mr. McKeen will let us know this evening the service this car is giving the road which is operating it.
Gentlemen, I thank you.

The PRESIDENT—I find, gentlemen, that we have with us tonight Mr. D. F. Crawford, General Superintendent of Motive Power of the Pennsylvania lines, west of Pittsburgh, and Past-president of the Master Car Builders Association. I wonder if Mr. Crawford will favor us with a few remarks. I do not wish to take you unawares, Mr. Crawford, but there are so many here tonight who would like to hear your opinion on motor cars that I take the liberty of calling upon you.

Mr. CRAWFORD—Up to the present time the Pennsylvania Lines West of Pittsburgh have not made use of motor cars of any description. However, I was much interested in reading the copy of Mr. McKeen’s paper which was sent to me before this meeting, and have been particularly interested in the information given by Mr. McKeen, as well as by Mr. Jones, regarding the operating cost per train mile of motor cars.

Sometime ago, while making an investigation of this subject, as nearly as I could ascertain, the operating costs of a small steam locomotive with one or two cars, and the cost of operating a gasoline motor with a trailer, was about 22 cents per mile for either kind of equipment.

As to whether or not greater earnings may be obtained with a motor car than with the small steam train, is, of course, a question of experience, and at one time we thought of running a small steam train on what would be a motor air schedule; that is, at short intervals, to ascertain just what the effect would be under our conditions, but up to the present time such experiments have not been carried out. In making a comparison of the cost of operating a motor car with the cost of operating a steam locomotive, it is important that the actual cost of operating the particular class of locomotive used for the service be ascertained instead of taking the average cost of locomotive repairs for all classes. On many roads it is not the practice to separate the cost of locomotive repairs by classes, but some years ago this practice was inaugurated on the Lines West of Pittsburgh, and I was interested to find that with a small locomotive operating a two or three car train on one of our smaller divisions was maintained throughout the year at an average cost of $2.20 per 100 miles run, and this is the figure which should be compared with the cost of maintaining the Motive Power part of the motor car. The first cost of the motor car is in the neighborhood of $20,000, while the small locomotives, many of which still exist in the equipment of the railways, may be said to have a book value of about $1,500 each, although if sold for scrap but in the neighborhood of $750 would be obtained for them. The cars used with this locomotive would also have a comparatively small value. This indicates the great difference that there would be in interest costs on a motor car and on a small locomotive with two cars for equivalent service.

I fully appreciate what the difference in traffic on the various railroads means. I not only refer to the character of the traffic but to the density of the traffic. In preparing certain testimony in connection with the locomotive inspection rules for | presentation before the Interstate Commerce Commission I had occasion to make a comparison of the density of traffic on some of the railroads west of Chicago and some of these east of Chicago, and inspection of the results obtained made me realize more keenly perhaps than I ever did before the great difference in conditions under which the various railroads work, and made it plain to me that it is not proper to say that what has been done with success on railroad “A” can be repeated with equal success on railroad “B”. As an example, I found the average engine miles per mile of line on one of the large western roads to be about 4,000 miles per annum, while on the smallest division of the Pennsylvania Lines West of Pittsburgh the average engine miles per mile of line was 5,100. On what is perhaps one of the heaviest traffic divisions of the western roads the engine miles per mile of line was 33,000 miles per annum, while on the eastern roads one division reached a density of about 80,000 miles, and on a busy portion of a division ran as high as 140,000 miles per annum.

I do not feel it is fair to either those who do or do not use motor cars to draw any conclusions as to their suitability for a particular service without very careful study and consideration of the actual conditions. For instance, on our lines where we have felt that it was probable that motor cars might prove of value, the fact that the steam locomotive used on these lines for passenger trains may also be used for handling and switching freight cars may be said to have been the deciding factor in continuing to use the steam locomotive rather than any deficiency that might exist in the motor car.

I am very glad that I had an opportunity not only to read Mr. McKeen’s paper, but to hear the interesting discussion this evening.

The PRESIDENT—Thank you very much, Mr. Crawford. Our list of subsidized speakers having become exhausted, the subject is now thrown open to the meeting for discussion.

The PRESIDENT—Gentlemen, I know there are many officials of Trunk Lines here tonight that have branches on which these motor cars are being used or might be used, and we should be glad to hear from them. Don’t be afraid to speak out, but don’t all speak at once.

Mr. W. J. BOUCHER—Just as a matter of history, I beg to make a correction to the closing remarks in Mr. McKeen’s paper, where he states that among the first, if not the first steel cars made, were the gasoline motor cars for railways. To do the matter justice I want to say that the first steel cars used in passenger service were those on the New York subway lines and they were designed by Mr. George Gibbs, a member of this Association. and were built in the Altoona shops of the Pennsylvania.

This is a very interesting subject and it may be of interest to you to say that the road which is now in operation and is known to a few of us, the New York, Westchester & Boston, made quite famous as being the most expensive road per mile of track of any road in operation, could never have been built or considered in operation except as a motor car proposition. The trains are now operated between New York and White Plains and New York and New Rochelle on a twenty minute headway, or over the main stem they are running trains every ten minutes. These are all electric motor cars, operated by overhead power alternating current and each car seats about 80 passengers. This road traverses a very sparsely settled section of Bronx and Westchester counties, and during the greater part of the day, single-car trains are ample for the traffic, these being increased to two- or three-car trains for the heavier travel, mornings, nights, Saturday afternoons, etc. In this manner the motor car shows its value as an operating unit.

Another matter in my mind which still remains unanswered is, as to the feasibility of splitting up motor car trains now operating on an infrequent schedule, into single units operating more frequently. For instance, the New York Central’s line to White Plains, a 25 mile run is operated during the slack periods of the day at approximately one hour intervals and to the layman, it would seem that if the wages of operating crew were expended in running one- or two-car trains on a, say, 20 minute schedule, the traffic would be better served and at the same time stimulated by the more frequent service, more like a street railway or interurban service.

An interesting account of the gasoline-electric operated line of the Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester and Dubuque Electric Traction Co., popularly known as the “Dan Patch Electric Lines” (Minnesota & Iowa) is given in Engineering News, of October 21, 1915. It is believed that this is the first railway operated entirely with gasoline-electric motive power. The road operates over about 115 miles of track and has three 60-ton gasoline-electric locomotives for passenger, freight and terminal services, in addition to one 57-ton locomotive of similar design and 13 gasoline-electric motor cars. Four through trains are run daily each way and constitute the normal schedule. A parlor car limited makes a 107 mile run in 3 hours 25 minutes. Other trains require 4 hours 5 minutes. In summer time such excursion trains are run as occasion demands. These various runs are usually made by a 70foot gasoline-electric car seating 89 passengers. For a moderate increase in travel, a trailer car is added to this and for excursions and extra heavy traffic, a train is made up of trailers and a gasoline electric locomotive. The General Electric Co. furnished all the car and locomotive equipment.

The speaker would be glad to have Mr. McKeen tell us more regarding the method of operating the gasoline motor car, made by the company which he represents, whether it operates directly by some form of transmission or whether it operates by means of a gasoline-electric generator providing current to electric motors on the axles.

The PRESIDENT—Mr. Boucher has touched upon a point which the managers of all suburban and short lines appreciate fully, and that is the advisability of short trains and frequent trips rather than the longer trains and infrequent trips—isn’t there someone who will speak upon that?

Mr. DANIEL M. BRADY—I had occasion to ramble out to the
Coast and back this summer, and take a great deal of pleasure in saying that I travelled over almost all of the main line of the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific Railroads. I found the gasoline motor car in operation on many miles of both roads. In talking with the boys in the transportation department I learned nearly all the men in that department were quite taken with the McKeen car.

Knowing Mr. McKeen, and remembering the fact that he first brought his car on to Atlantic City and exhibited it seven or eight years ago, I recalled it at once and was again impressed with the submarine-like snout of it. (Laughter). If I remember rightly Mr. McKeen displayed his first car at Atlantic City when he visited us here seven or eight years ago.

The PRESIDENT—There being no one who seems to evince a desire to speak, we will call upon Mr. McKeen to say anything he feels necessary in answer to the questions asked by Mr. Emerson and Mr. Dailey and Mr. Boucher, as to the operating expenses of certain cars in certain districts, etc.

Mr. W. R. Mckeen—As I mentioned in my paper, to start with it is difficult at times to analyze railroad figures. Since hearing Mr. Emerson’s remarks I can appreciate more forcibly the trouble one has. If he can build a gasoline motor car for $1800 and I cannot buy the material to put in the front truck for $2500, I want to visit with him and learn something. (Laughter and applause.)

Mr. Emerson brought up an interesting feature in gasoline motor cars and one which we have always considered, and that is the first cost of gasoline motor cars running in between freight trains and passenger trains, and run at an average speed of eight or ten miles an hour faster than steam trains. They run under conditions where steam trains could not run. If they did not do that they would not perform any of the functions they are supposed to perform. Now, you take a hundred American citizens and put them in a car and shoot them over a road at 60 or 70 miles an hour and you have to give them a little protection, and I do not believe Mr. Emerson would care himself to ride on one of these railroad jitneys that he speaks of—especially if there was a through train behind it. (Laughter.)

The idea at first and all the time is to protect the travelling public and in all the service the gasoline motor cars have been, they have run into freight trains and into passenger trains, they have turned over and hit fallen trees, they have been in collisions with themselves with an impact speed of 85 miles an hour, but to date they have never killed a passenger; not one single loss of human life can be charged up to this equipment after 10 years of service. If you are going to operate railroad jitneys on steam railroads I do not believe you would be able to show such a record.

Mr. Emerson speaks about the gasoline trucks, putting a gasoline truck on the rails. I know that this has been done in a number of instances, but I know that the trucks cost a great deal more than $3500—that is, if they are adapted to steam railroad service.

Then, another thing you don’t want to forget, an engine turns over a good many times, and when you make 10,000 or 12,000 miles in an automobile, it is good policy to sell it and get a new one. In the case of a gasoline car the gasoline motor car makes anywhere from 100 to 150,000 miles, and in some cases 200,000 miles before the car goes into the shop. He speaks about the cars being hard on the tracks as compared with railroad cars. Why, some of the cars that are being built for the Pennsylvania weigh 52,000 lbs. and carry a load of 100,000 lbs. in addition, and that is going to do some damage to bridges and tracks compared with a motor car weighing only 68,000 lbs.
In regard to giving statistics—if I started in giving statistics I would keep you here all night, I have so many of them. But I think Mr. Jones’ figures of 18 cents a mile is a very fair average of the cars. Some of them run on that average and some of them average less. It depends entirely on local conditions.

Mr. Dailey spoke about a 300 horse-power car being new in the service. It has been operating for the last few months at 14 cents a mile and pulls a trailer—(of course it is a new car). The running repairs and gasoline and train service and tender work are included and it was shown that the operating cost is a little over 14 cents a mile.
One of the gentlemen spoke of the application of power to the gasoline car. The General Electric applies the power through an electric motor, but that is electric transmission, that is all. Our car has been built along mechanical transmission lines, the power from the crank axle being conveyed by a frictionless Morse chain to a sprocket on the driving axle. (Applause.)

The PRESIDENT—On behalf of the New York Railroad Club I want
to thank you, Mr. McKeen, for this very valuable and interesting paper— it marks another milestone in the progress of motive power on railroads, and I do not think that that particular subject per se has been discussed here since you discussed eight years ago, and I again thank you very sincerely, and also all the others who have so ably taken part in the discussion.

We find that such intelligent papers and discussions make for history, and the Secretary can verify what I say when I tell you that he has many applications for the proceedings of meetings like this that deal with such important technical subjects.

The Following is an article from “The Electric Railway Journal” October 23rd, 1915, Page 866



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