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¡Dinas Po wis Jottings.

Ilantwit-Iajor Notes.





THE TAFF VALE RAILWAY AND ITS-FREIGRTER& I IMPORTANT TEST ACTION. £ 30,000 AT STAKE. f I, [FROM THE Although the directors of the Taff Vale Railway Company have been able, principally by economic [ management, to give the shareholders an increased dividend for the past year, there are very serious troubles ahead of which it is only fair that the proprietors should be made acquainted. Certain information which we have received is of so start- ling a nature that it is astonishing that the chair- man of the company did not at the last half- j yearly meeting make some reference to the matter, It is well known that A DISPUTE HAS ARISEN WITH REFERENCE TO THE TOLL which should be charged for the carriage of coal from various collieries in the RhoPdda Valley to Hafod and Treforest Junctions for shipment at Barry. The. disagreement extends back to the time when Barry Dock was opened, and it has been supposed that the matter would come before the Railway Commissioners on a petition of the Barry Company. Colliery proprietors have bee» complaining seriously of the delay in settling the question in dispute, as it prevents their accounts being closed. As the Barry Company have not taken- action the Taff Vale directors have been compelled to commence proceedings against the colliery proprietors to recover lanre sums of money which thej' allege are due to them. In order to make the nature of the claims clear to the public, it is necessary to state that the Taff Vale Company are compelled, under the Jhny Dock and Railway Act, to carry coal to the Hafod and j Treforest Junctions at the lowest rate per ] mile at which they convey coal to Car- j diff. For the purpose of preparing a j tariff for the whole distance they took the distance from each colliery to the West Bute Dock, but the total freights to Roath Dock and Penarth are the same, notwithstanding that the mileage is greater. It follows, of course, that coal is carried to the two last-named docks • at a lower rate per ton per mile. To give an example, we will take the Maritime Colliery, which is situated twelve miles from the West Bute Dock, and we will assume, for the purpose of easy calculation, that the toll is one penny per ton per mile. The Tag Vale Company, arguing upon this basis, would claim one penny per ton per mile for coal canied to Hafod of i Treforest for shipment at Barry." But." sa.y!o\ the freighters, '• vou will also carry coal from the Maritime Colliery to Roath Dock and 1 tinni'tli. two milys further, for a shilling per ton, and therefore, we are not going to pay you more to Hafod and Treforest than the rate per ton per mile for the longer I distance." This small difference, we are assured. means to the Taff Vale Company front July, 1889, WHEN BARRY DOCK WAS OPENED, to the present time something like £2&,000, and although the colliery proprietors have not paid that amount, it has been credited in the books of the company as an asset. In order to test the question, the Taff Company have taken proceed- ings against the Ocean Steam Coal Company to recover ±,2,000, and the decision in this case will rule the other claims against colliery proprietors. The question has given the directors the greatest concern, and on Tuesday Mr. Beasley. the general manager of the Taff, and Mr. J. P. Ingledew, the solicitor to the company, had a long consultation with some eminent barristers in London. As far as we can gather the plaintiffs in the action claim that they have a right to group the docks in the port of Cardiff and give one distance for the whole. If this contention fail, the loss will be a serious one to the proprietors, and must considerably reduce their dividend for the current year. IT TAKES ABOUT £52,000 TO PAY 1. PER CEXT. per annum, and if £ 30,000 has to be struck off the II books for bad debts, the prospects of the company are not so rosy as many people imagine. It is I expected that the test case will be heard in the Court of Queen's Bench next week. Unfortu- nately, this is not the only financial trouble with which the directors have to contend. The com- pany is now involved fn litigation with several large freighters, and the actions which have been decided hitherto have not been, of a promising character. In the case of the steamship Sneyd, belonging to Messrs. Osborne and Wallis, the com- pany lost heavily. They could have- settled for Z200, but fonglit the action, lost, appealed, and again lost. and it is stated that altogether this little bit of business will cost them not much short of A 1,300. We are not aware of a single case in which the company has been successful, and the mischief of the whole business is that several of the freighters are becoming disgusted, and are not likely to give any more traffic to the Taff than they are compelled to. An arbitration case in wirch a ¡ heavy claim is made against the South Wales Wharf and Transit Company has been heard, but the award has not yet been given. For the current half-year there has been a decrease in traffic receipts to the amount of nearly £ 7,000, and with only £ 20.000 in the reserve fund. the prospects of the Taff Vale Company are certainly not by any means promising. THE TAFF VALE RAILWAY AND THE COAL FREIGHTERS. A correspondent writes As one who takes a somewhat different view from you on the question of the dispute between the Barry Dock freighters and the directors of the Taff Vale Railway. I hope. with your usual fairness, yotpwill permit me to express an opinion that the.shareholders of the railway company have little cause to be under any apprehension respecting the results of the legal proceedings commenced by the directors against one of the largest colliery compa,niesf in the Rhondda Valley, with regard to the charge to be made per mile for carrying coal to Hafod Junction. As far as I remember, THE PRESENT RATE WAS FIXED BY THE RAILWAY COMMISSIONERS when they decided the question whether the Taff had any claim under the short distance clause in bringing down coal to Hafod for the Barry Rail- way Company. The three dosks at Cardiff and II the one at Penarth were then grouped together to form the port" to which a uniform charge should be made. Up to that time a difference of charge was made for coal carried to the Roath Dock. This was evidently an injustice to the freighterer. To avoid this and so prevent in- jurious rivalry between docks in the same port, a ¡ group was formed, including Penarth, to which a uniform charge should be made. and a straight line was drawn east and west* from the Cardiff terminus of the Taff Vale Railway, and this I formed the base line for the calculation of distance. leaving the mileage beyond out of the question. THE SAME PRINCIPLE IS APPLIED ELSEWHERE. The Liverpool Docks extend for miles along the e Mersey, but the railway companies charge the same rate for the carriage of merchandise whether it is collected from the dock the furthest away or the one nearest to the Liverpool terminus. The word "port" is used, and whether by rail inward or by steamer outward, I the charge is the same. No one ever con- tended that the rate should be reckoned from I the extreme point. The base line is the terminus at Liverpool, and the base line at Cardiff is the Taff Vale terminus, and it is from this point that the distance must be calculated. It is, however, a matter of regret that the settlement of the question has been so long delayed. The charge the question has been so long delayed. The charge made by the Tag Vale Company to the Barry freighters is the lowest per mile to the port of Cardiff, and I think the judges will hold that that is the base line fixed by the commissioners.




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