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Street Railways In England

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Goorso Francia Train's famous attempts to introduce tramways in the British tovus in 18(!0 did not neglect Birmingham, says Dr. A'.bert Shaw iu his "Municipal Government In Great Britain. " Mr. Train was gran ted an expositiehal concession, which he failed to ucilize, and in 1861 the Corporation itself obtained parlianieutary authority to build tramways. But nothing was done until after the general tramways act of 1870 wa8 passed. At lougth, in 1873, the council laid the first line at a cost of $75,000 and leascd it for saven years toan operating company. From time to time other line have bsen built and leased, but the corporation's limita inclnded only 8,400 acres until Nov. 9, 1801, wlien they were increased to 12,306 acres by the annexatiou of suburbs then containing some 50,000 people. Thus when the corporation 's street railway system was ouder construcción the average distance from tho center to the circumference of Binuiugham was only two miles, and 22 milos of tram Liñes are the total exteut of the municipal ownership. Outsideof the city's jurisdictiou the operating companies havo extended the linea by a stiü greater mileage. In the future uudoubtedly these exteusions will be acquired by the Birnringbanj corporation at a fair valuatiou, in accordanne with tJie method.s prescribed in the geueral tramways aot. The present municipal liues are operated in part by horso power and in part byeteum, with cabio and electricity also introduced on certain routes. The ternas of reu tal are worthy of inention: 1. The leasing companies agree to pay 4 por cent on the full municipal investment lor the first 14 years of the lease and 5 per cent for the remainiog Beveii years. 2. The oonrpaniea also pay au anuual fuui which at compound interest will accumulato a fund equal to the whole capital outlayat the end of the 21 years' lease. It is calculated and ágreed that 4 per cent for 14 years and 5 per cent for the remaiuing sevnn years will .--nilico to raise tlie full aniouut of capital. Meauwhüe also the companies pay all cnrreut charges for repairs and maintenance of the lines upon receiving bilis certified by the city urveyor. It shonld be reniembered that Birmingham is able to borrow at very low rat6S, and it is clear that these terms are protitable to themunicipality. At the end of the 21 years the earning value of the franchises will have increased, and new leases can be executed on terms still more advantageous to the city. But while Birmingham has thna protected the ratepayers so handsomely it has accomplished evon more in the guarding of tlie interests of the traveling public. Every detail as to rates of ia; o and oharaoter of service is described in the bylaws and regulations that the Lvmpanies have to accept. Tho minuteUüsSoI the rtjquiremcnts touching duties aiicl couduct of drivera and conductors, lurni.shing and lighting of cars and so on would amaze au American community.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News