Saturday, July 16, 2005

Suggestion: "Official List: Officers, Agents, Stations &c"


I have a suggestion for a valuable tool which might be added to the CPRR Photographic History Museum website...  

Beginning in the (late?) 1890s, each large railroad periodically issued a book called "Official List: Officers, Agents and Stations," or a closely similar title.  These were issued by the Accounting Departments of the railroads and included a huge amount of information for their small size.  Typically, information would include the name of each station, the name of the agent, the "class" of the agency (whether Ticket or Freight, or both,) the telegraph call, the distance from some fixed point, connections with other railroads, and the statistical number (which was meaningless, except for accountants) and whether or not each station had a siding for the loading/unloading of cars.  Also included were the names of all officers of the corporation and the officials of the operating, motive power, maintenance of way and other departments; a list of comp'ny surgeons and comp'ny attorneys, track scales, stock pens, icing stations.  Lists were organized by subsidiary company, division and branch.  Some of the information was quite detailed.   E.g. concerning stock pens, the number of pens, the number of chutes, the number of freight cars accomodated, and the availability of water might be listed.  

Given the huge resources of the CPRR Photographic History Museum, I'm sure an early edition of a Southern Pacific RR "Official List" could be found.  It would be a "meritorious work" for someone to put up on the website, in .PDF format, the portion of an SP Official List which covers the original Central Pacific lines.  An Official List of 1898 or 1900 would give a good picture of the CPRR territory before the "Harriman changes."  

By the way... It is my impression that these "Official Lists" were no longer published once the Interstate Commerce Commission was scuttled about thirty years ago.  But I was never involved in what we referred to as the "commercial" side of railroading, and so could be wrong about this.  

—Abram Burnett,
         in statu Pennsylvaniensis