Re: Northern Pacific Boxcar Upgrades 1925

gary laakso

Utility rate making utilized the return on investment made by the utility.  Railroad rate making required a value for the railroad’s investment and the 1913 Act was supposed to provide that to the ICC.


Gary Laakso

Northwest of Mike Brock


From: <> On Behalf Of Ray Breyer via
Sent: Monday, October 3, 2022 10:23 AM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Northern Pacific Boxcar Upgrades 1925


You're thinking of the Transportation Act of 1920. The ICC Val predates that, and was an offshoot of antitrust legislation from the turn of the century.  There was a huge discussion as to whether railroads were "public highways", and there were a few major pushes to nationalize them for the "greater good" (remember how hated the robber barons were at that time).


By 1920 all that had gone by the wayside, and I believe the reports were used to generate data for the 1920 law.


I have the 1920 act on hand, but need to look up the 1913 Valuation Act to see what justification is given for the valuations. I'll have to dredge up congressional transcripts too.


Ray Breyer
Elgin, IL





On Monday, October 3, 2022 at 12:09:54 PM CDT, Tony Thompson <tony@...> wrote:



Ray Breyer wrote:



 Remember that the original intent of the valuations was to assess the actual value of each property, in case the Federal Government decided to nationalize the railroads, and had to pay stockholders for their seized property.



I don’t think this is correct. The intent of the valuation was to find out the actual capital value of each railroad, so that a “fair return” on investment could be instituted by the ICC. This was amid ongoing squabbles about whether freight rates were “fair” or not. Those, of course, didn’t get ended until Staggers.


Tony Thompson



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