WHERE THE MONEY GOES, “THEN” AND “NOW”

The “pie-chart”  graphs shown below depict how monies were distributed for American Railways in 1911 and the Union Pacific Railroad in 2009. While I was cataloging the 1911 graph, I began to wonder how it would compare to a similar, modern graph. I found what I sought in the 2009 Annual Report of the U.P.R.R.. I soon realized I am not sufficiently astute in Financial matters to even pretend to make any comparisons on a “Dollar” basis. However, I will advance some comparisons about the choice of words and the subjects they name.

In 1911, the direct cost of operating the locomotive fleet was labeled “Fuel, Oil, and Water”, whilst in 2009 it was labeled “Fuel”. Why the difference? I need to point out the 1911 locomotive fleet was nearly 100 % steam-powered and used both coal and oil for “fuel”. This being so, why is “Oil” listed again? I believe the intent was to recognize the large cost of lubrication “Oil” for the high friction, low life, plain car-axle bearings in use in 1911. Now, what’s with the inclusion of “Water” in the triad of words? Remember the locomotive fleet was steam-powered. The safe and reliable operation  of a steam locomotive requires the dependable availability of water of  high quality. The cost of the water facilities needed to provide such water where it is needed, at track-side, was very large. Thus, the inclusion of “water” in the triad of words. By 2009, the locomotive fleet consisted of 100 % diesel electric locomotives. These locomotives use a light-oil for fuel and are very efficient and powerful. The words “Oil” and”Water” were dropped, I assume, because low friction car-axle roller-bearings eliminated the cost of lubrication “Oil” needed by plain bearings and diesel electric locomotives do not need “Water”. Today, “fuel”  sums it up.

Another interesting category is the one using the words “Labor” and “Compensation & Benefits” in the two charts. In 1911, the word “Labor” meant mostly the sum of the cost to pay the wages of railroad laborers – there were very few benefits for them at the time. I assume “Labor” meant labor and nothing more. By 2009, by comparison, “wages” had  become “compensation”, “laborers” had become “personnel”, Company-paid benefits had come into existence and were costly for the Company. It is plain that the use of the word “Labor” in the context of 2009 realities would be inadequate. At least, that is what I believe happened over the intervening years.

About THE OLD MACHINIST

I am 82 years old and wed for 65 years. I am a retired engineer and spent 35 years developing INS gyroscopes. I am a High School mentor in physics, mountaineer, model builder, machinist and have a degree in Physics. My interests include railroad history and photography, science history, cosmology, interesting people, and old engineering drawings. I place a high value on my friendships. I enjoy life and am looking forward to the future with my usual sense of anticipation and curiosity.

Posted on November 16, 2011, in ART AND CRAFTSMANSHIP OF THE DRAFTSMAN, TRIVIA FROM THE UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD DRAWING COLLECTION, UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD HISTORY IN DRAWINGS, UNUSUAL DRAWINGS IN THE UPRR DRAWING COLLECTION and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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