Tuesday, August 01, 2006


From: "Wendell Huffman" wwhuffma@clan.lib.nv.us

As a librarian/archivist and compulsive organizer I was intrigued when I noticed the numbering of accounts in an I.C.C. accounting document dating from the period of the railroad valuation projects. ... was the use of these numbers to designate particular accounts universal among American railroads (at any particular time)? ...

—Wendell Huffman


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Lynn Farrar" littlechoochoo81@netzero.net
Subject: I.C.C. accounts – numbering system

The ICC accounts related by Wendell are known as "Primary Accounts" as differentiated from operating and expense accounts, etc. These primary accounts were part of the humongous exercise known as the Valuation Act of March 1, 1913 and applied to all railroads under jurisdiction of the ICC. The account numbers changed very slightly over the years at the whim of the ICC but the Valuation proceedings to establish a base for rate making purposes began in 1914 and were finally brought to conclusion in 1935! They entailed a physical inspection in the field of every item owned or used by the railroads involved. This included all steam railroads classed I and II plus most switching companies but not those railroads that were so-called interurban or electric railroads. Thus roads with electrical portions such as Pennsy, NYC, NYNH&H, SP, etc. were inventoried but not roads such as Pacific Electric, Sacramento Northern, San Francisco, Napa & Calistoga, Visalia Electric, to name only a few here in California. ...

—Lynn Farrar

8/01/2006 3:35 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Lynn Farrar" littlechoochoo81@netzero.net
Subject: ICC accounts

I have found the UNIFORM SYSTEM OF ACCOUNTS for RAILROAD COMPANIES, the issue of 1968. The ICC was in the habit of messing things up every so often I guess to keep us railroad oafs from getting too complacent.


8/01/2006 3:36 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Lynn Farrar" littlechoochoo81@netzero.net

... the book ... was published by the AAR and is ... some 300 pages long ... I will send ... the ICC Primary Accounts as I know them. Not all are shown in the book I mentioned.


8/01/2006 3:36 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Lynn Farrar" littlechoochoo81@netzero.net

Attached are the ICC Primary Accounts as I used to work with them. In Valuation we had to keep track of three kinds of company costs. The first effort was to report to the ICC all costs as per their reproduction cost new determined by them in a monumental effort that stretched from 1914 thru 1935!!! The IRS allowed most of the ICC figures for their tax reporting because the ICC costs were supposedly based on prices in effect during the 1910 to 1914 period. But we tweaked those ICC figures where we had actual company book costs of the property which were almost always higher than the ICC figures. That was the second effort. The third effort was using the originl costs of building the railroad lines from 1852 to 1905 that my group in the Research Team developed over the years from 1966 to 1977. The IRS allows tax payers to use 1913 values or historical costs, whichever is higher. In the case of SP this difference between ICC (1913) and our 1852 thru 1905 figures amounted to $180 million in favor of SP. You can see why we spent almost $3 million on the project.

—Lynn Farrar

8/01/2006 3:37 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


1 Engineering maps and profiles
2 Land
3 Grading
4 ???
5 Tunnels and Subways
6 Bridges, trestles and culverts
7 Elevated Structures
8 Ties
9 Rails
10 Other Track Material
11 Ballast
12 Tracklaying and Surfacing
13 Right-of-way fences now Fences, snowsheds and signs
14 Snow and sand fences and snowsheds
15 Crossings and Signs
16 Station and Office Buildings
17 Roadway Buildings
18 Water Stations
19 Fuel Stations
20 Shops and engine houses
21 Grain elevators
22 Storage warehouses
23 Wharves and docks
24 Coal and ore wharves
25 Gas-producing plants now TOFC/COFC terminals
26 Telegraph and telephone lines now Communication systems
27 Signals and Interlockers
28 ???
29 Power-plant buildings now Power plants
30 Power-substation buildings
31 Power-transmission systems
32 Power-distribution systems
33 Power-line poles and fixtures
34 Underground conduits
35 Miscellaneous structures
36 Paving
37 Roadway machines
38 Roadway small tools
39 Public improvements-construction
40 Thru 42 ????
43 Other expenditures; road
44 Shop machinery
45 Power-plant machinery
46 Power-substation apparatus
47 ???
48 thru 50 Not used
51 Steam locomotives
52 Other locomotives
53 Freight-train cars
54 Passenger-train cars
55 Motor equipment of cars
56 Floating equipment
57 Work equipment
58 Miscellaneous equipment
59 Thru 70 Not used
71 Organization expenses
72 General officers and clerks
73 Law
74 Stationery and printing
75 Taxes
76 Interest during construction
77 Other expenditures, general

8/01/2006 3:38 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Wendell Huffman" wendellhuffman@hotmail.com

Were the valuation surveys a consequence program of the I.C.C. or the U.S.R.A.?


[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

8/31/2006 12:42 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

ICC did the railroad valuation surveys. Maps are in the U.S. Archives in DC.

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

8/31/2006 12:43 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Chris Baer"
Subject: Valuation surveys

The valuation process began in 1913 under the Congressional Valuation Act, not the USRA. It was an idea of Sen. Bob La Follette and other midwestern Progressives, dating back to the heyday of the Grangers, that rates were being set to give returns on wildly inflated "watered" capital and that an impartial calculation of the true cost of the railroads would both expose the watering and form a true basis for rates. The valuation process was entirely under the ICC, and most railroads established a post of Valuation Engineer to manage the staff of engineers and accountants that had do the fieldwork, research, and complete the necessary papers. The irony is that the valuation exercise failed in its original purpose but assembled a gold mine of data for railroad historians.

—Chris Baer

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

8/31/2006 12:43 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "David Pfeiffer" david.pfeiffer@nara.gov

The records of the valuation survey were created by the ICC, Bureau of Valuation, during the period 1914-1920 and provide detailed documentation pertaining to the roadways, equipment and machinery, structures, and right-of-way land ownership and acquisition for railroads of that period. There are also periodic updates of the engineering and land reports up until the 1960's.

These records are in the custody of the National Archives at College Park and are part of Record Group 134, Interstate Commerce Commission. Further information is available online at rlhs.org under "Research Guide to the National Archives." If you have any other questions, you can contact me.

—David Pfeiffer, Archivist, Civilian Records
Textual Archives Services Division
National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

8/31/2006 12:44 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


Wendell Huffman asks about the valuations, by which I assume he means the exercise undertaken between 90 and 70 years ago.

It was the ICC that proposed to Congress that the Interstate Commerce Act be amended to give powers to the ICC to undertake valuations of railroads. This was to allow the ICC to make judgements on a fair return on investment for the railroads. In fact Congress did not amend the Interstate Commerce Act, but instead passed the Valuation Act on 1 March 1913. It was later claimed by ICC to have gone beyond what they (the ICC) had requested.

The valuation exercise took the ICC twenty years, and it filed its last valuation in 1932. It claimed in its annual report for that year that its work had been delayed by the Great War, and by the fact that the legislation had "opened a broad field for dispute ... with resultant litigation in the courts." Over the twenty years, no less than 748 cases were filed, and hearings held on 503 of them.

The fact that the valuation exercise took so long meant that the ICC also had to undertake significant work to keep its valuations up to date. In this effort they required the railroads to maintain records to suit the ICC and they measured their own progress by their invented measure of the "mile-year."

By the time ICC had reached this far, their valuation work was costing in excess of $3 million each year, which in turn was over a third of its annual budget.

—Andrew Dow

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

8/31/2006 12:45 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Lynn Farrar" littlechoochoo81@netzero.net

The surveys conducted under the auspices of the ICC began in 1914 and were under the authorizations of the Congressional Act of March 1, 1913. The entire Valuation proceedings is one of the longest special programs ever undertaken by the US Govt. beginning with the act of 1913 and finally winding up in 1935. But even after the hearings, etc. were ended the railroads were ordered by the ICC to keep their records in a certain manner not totally consistent with GAAP until sometime soon after I retired in 1985. The Valuation proceedings including the original field surveys constitute an enormous amount of material that would fill a number of large warehouses. Much of this material at one time rested with the ICC, of course, but sometime after 1950 the ICC gave a tremendous amount of material to the Nation Archives which housed it in a huge warehouse in Suitland, MD. Then, again after I retired from SP in 1985, I learned that much of these records were moved to an NA facility elsewhere in Maryland, I believe near where the Univ. of MD is at Gaithersburg. There are a number of sources of info on the Valuation of the Railroads available but I know of no exact location other than what I have at the moment. Hope this helps.

—Lynn Farrar [former SPRR Valuation Engineer]

9/01/2006 6:56 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Don Snoddy" ddsnoddy@cox.net
Subject: RE: Valuation surveys

The valuation records are indeed at a National Archives facility in Maryland. There is a new published guide to those records, in fact all railroad records, done by one of the archivists, David Pfeiffer. David.Pfeiffer@nara.gov He's a great guy and should be able to provide a copy of his new finding aid.


9/02/2006 12:24 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Don Ball" dlball1899@gmail.com
Subject: Valuation surveys

The ICC Valuation records are now stored in College Park, Maryland. I was there a couple of weeks ago and they have the valuation maps, the field notes and much more information. All of these items can be copied for a fee.

—Don Ball

9/02/2006 12:26 AM  

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