Valuation Methods on the Big Four

Railway Age Gazette Vol 59, October 15, 1915 pages 701-2
(PDF - from Google Books scan)

The parties of the Interstate Commerce Commission, Division of Valuation, have been at work on the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis since September, 1914, necessitating the organization by the railroad of a considerable force to carry on the work required of the railroad in conjunction with the government inventory.

Four government roadway parties have covered over 1,100 miles of line to date. A government terminal party is at work at Indianapolis, and there are two other terminal parties maintained jointly by the government and the railway. Four government parties are also making an inventory of the Western Union lines, while the railroad has a party on its own telegraph and telephone lines. A bridge party, a signal party and a building party, each consisting of two railroad men and one government man, commenced work in June and are following the roadway parties.

The roadway parties are taking only the field notes, which they send direct to the office of the Southern district of the Division of Valuation, at Chattanooga, which is handling all work on the Big Four, including the lines in Illinois which fall outside the boundaries of the Southern district. The terminal parties are making complete summaries of materials and assembly sheets. They also gather enough data to complete the terminal maps. Field work on all lines west of Indianapolis was completed about August 1. The railroad is represented on each roadway party by a pilot selected from the staff of the engineering department, giving preference to a man who is well acquainted with the lines to be inventoried. The pilots are assigned to a given district sufficiently in advance of the government schedule to enable them to become thoroughly familiar with the property. The same end is accomplished on the joint bridge and building parties by assigning, in turn, old members of the division bridge and building forces who have had long experience with the bridges and buildings in the particular district to be covered.
Table Used to Keep a Check on the Drafting Progress

The pilots walk over the district in advance of the field parties, taking with them all old maps of the line available. With this information as a guide, sufficient notes are taken to enable the drawing room to make complete new maps. This includes complete data on all physical features, right of way, etc. The right page of the notebook is used for the plotted notes, the left page being used to indicate clearing bal1ast, shoulder widening, rail, sewers, pipe lines, etc. An effort is made also to interview all persons who can possibly give any information concerning hidden quantities.

The roadway parties are supplied with preliminary prints of the prescribed right of way, track and station maps, profiles and quantities on recent construction, all standard track plans, plans of bridges 12 ft. or less in length, lists of leases and abstracts of contracts concerning industrial tracks not owned entirely by the railroad. The bridge party is supplied with plans of all bridges over 12 ft. long, coaling stations, turntables, scales, water station tubs and supports and pipe lines. The building party is furnished all available plans of the buildings in the district.

Owing to the fact that the maps in the company's possession would not fulfill the specifications for maps and profiles as prescribed by the Interstate Commerce Commission, it has been necessary to make entirely new maps, a task requiring the organization of a considerable drafting force. As a result of the special efforts to push the drafting work, rapid progress has been made, amounting to an output of from 60 to 80 miles of completed maps per week. In the month of June, 280 miles of maps were platted, 288 miles were traced and 276 miles were checked. An accompanying table shows the means by which the progress on the maps is checked from week to week. On all lines save one the maps were made from old maps on hand, supplemented by information col1ected by the pilots. In the case of the White Water division, 70 miles long, no map was in existence and a complete resurvey was required.

An important feature of the organization is the separation of the work of the draftsmen or plotters from that of the tracers. Wherever practicable one plotter is assigned to a given valuation section which he carries through to completion, and each plotter is expected to make his own search for the necessary data. This arrangement prevents considerable duplication in searching the records, and enables each plotter to become thoroughly familiar with the particular records with which he is concerned.

In accordance with this arrangement the first work to be done by the plotters is to gather and record the information necessary for the prescribed schedule of right of way and also for the list of industrial tracks on which the company's rights are restricted, as provided in Interstate Commerce Commission order No. 12, dated January 21, 1915. To this end mimeograph blanks are provided on which the information can be recorded conveniently. A form headed "Report on Cost and Value of Right of Way and Real Estate" contains blanks not only for the items required for the schedule to be put on the map, but is designed also for use in compiling the information required on DV. Forms Nos. 107 and 108 for the schedule of land to be filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission, as required in order No.7, dated November 21, 1914.

The men obtain the information for right of way from the files of the office of the real estate agent. As they are assigned an entire section, the records are gone through by counties,. the data being abstracted as found. In consequence, no special search of the records for a particular parcel of land is required unless it is missing when the complete file has been covered. Data as to sidetrack contracts are taken from the files of the engineering department, and recorded on the blanks provided, from which they are eventually copied on DV. Form 135.

When all the right of way sheets of a given district are finnished they are given to a typist, who prepares the schedule summary in the form and order required for the map. This shows the parcel number, grantor, grantee, instrument, date, record index and custodian's number. A heading at the top of the sheet gives the date, sheet number, division and valuation section. Two carbon copies are made, one of which is a backed tissue carbon to permit blue printing the schedule on the working print of the map furnished to the field forces. The identification heading at the top of the schedule appears on those working blue prints but will, of course, be omitted when the schedule is placed on the finished maps.

In plotting, the draftsmen work on as long a roll of the detail paper as the alinement will permit. The conventional sheets are indicated roughly. The tracers make sheets of the standard 54-in. length. A material saving in time was obtained by the use of rubber stamps. Each tracer is given a sheet of detail paper upon which have been stamped to correct scale and proportions all conventional signs, names of counties, township numbers, figures from 0 to 9 for the various sizes of numerals used, the abbreviation N.W.1/4, etc. By sliding this sheet under the tracing cloth to the proper position the various figures can be traced accurately and quickly. Recently greater efficiency has been obtained by the use of Ockerson printing devices for the same purpose, by means of which the various items are printed directly on the tracing cloth. A printing press has also been installed for printing the titles. To save time in setting them up, cuts have been purchased, giving the combinations of letters and words most frequently used. Another time-saving device is a power eraser made by attaching flexible dental shafting to the shaft of a very small electric motor operated from the lighting circuit. A common red pencil eraser cut roughly to the shape of a disc serves as the rubber.

The draftsmen are under the immediate direction of two squad foremen who assist the plotters in looking for information, investigate disputed points and check the drawings. They also follow up any searches for missing data which have been referred to the real estate department. The drawings are checked by these men principally for specification requirements, hidden quantities, right of way, etc. The complete check is obtained by the use of the working blue prints by the field forces and by furnishing the real estate department with prints to check for right of way. An independent squad of draftsmen corrects the tracings for errors discovered by the field forces and by the real estate department

The organization under the direction of the real estate agent is at work preparing the schedule of land according to D. V. Forms 107 and 108. For this purpose they use the "Reports of Costs and Value of Right of Way and Real Estate" prepared by the plotters in the valuation office, checking the information which the plotters have entered and supplying the remaining data This requires a search of all the records of the railroad. All new real estate records are kept and indexed in the office of the real estate agent, but old records are in the files of the auditor, except such as are filed in the construction correspondence in the chief engineer's office. The work is further complicated by the fact that the Big Four, like most other roads, has absorbed a great many small corporations, each with independent records. In spite of these obstacles, about 500 miles of line had been scheduled by the first of August, all records being carefully indexed as the work was carried along in order that easy reference may be had to the original records.


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