Railroad Finance

By Frederick A. Cleveland; Fred Wilbur Powell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
FINANCES OF CONSTRUCTION

Definition. -- Construction may be considered as the building of all the fixed properties used by a railroad in conducting the business of transportation. It pertains, therefore, to the roadway and structures as distinguished from rolling stock and other equipment. In its fullest sense it comprehends grading, tunneling, construction of bridges, trestles and culverts; purchase and laying of ties, rails, and other parts of the roadway including ballast; building and equipping of stations and office buildings, shops, and engine-houses, as well as water front structures and power plants. It also includes engineering, supervision, and inspection, and the acquiring of fee title to lands and right of way. Cost of construction may be understood as made up of outlays for building operations, plus interest on outlays during the construction period, less deductions for salvage and for charges for transportation during construction; in other words, the net expense to the railroad corporation.

Construction Financed Through Sales of Shares. -- Construction of the early local railroads was generally financed by means of the proceeds of sales of corporate shares. It was the practice to begin with subscriptions to share capital by persons interested in local manufacturing or commercial enterprises or by local investors who had accumulated savings or inherited small estates. These subscriptions were paid in cash; the shareholders as proprietors of the corporation thus held the chief beneficial interest in the properties, and they chose the directors from among their number in much the same manner as officers were chosen at a town meeting. This is particularly true of the New

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