The Recent Application by the Denaby Main Colliery – The Economist

June 1880

Mexborough and Swinton Times, June 8.

The Recent Application by the Denaby Main Colliery.

The Economist says:

The Railway Commissions have given a very important decision with respect to the system of mileage rates.

It appears that the district of the South Yorkshire hard steam coal, which extends over an area 20 miles wide, is worked by several collieries, and the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Railway Company has grouped them together, and charges them all the same rate for coal sent to Hull, Goole, Keadby and Grimsby.

To this arrangement however, the Denaby Colliery Company have objected. Their position, which is the most easterly of all the collieries, gives them, they say, a natural advantage over the others. Coal sent by them to any of the town’s name has to be conveyed a less distance than that from the other collieries; there being in some cases a difference of 10 or 15 miles, and if the mileage rates were charged they would, owing to the lower freight upon their coal, be able to undersell their competitors.

Accordingly, while they make no complaint of being themselves charged more than the proper freight, they demand that the other collieries should be charged higher rates than now levied so that they may be entirely able to reap the full advantage that their graphical position is calculated to give them.

To this demand the Commissioners have acceded, and the railway company have been instructed to charge future mileage rates, which, while not diminishing the charges to the Denaby Colliery, will increase those to all the rest.

This decision, however, is, it appears to us, open to serious question. It is, of course, desirable that the full benefit of all natural advantages should be secured to the public, and if those possessed by the Denaby Company were nullified by the charging of needlessly high rates, the Commissioners would have had good grounds for their interference. But is it at all desirable that natural disadvantages should be perpetuated?

What the commission may rightly do is to prevent the railway companies from charging higher rates to one trader than to another for the same amount of work, but it is hard to see why they should interfere to prevent the companies doing as much work as they are willing to undertake for a minimum charge.

If they are willing to carry goods as cheaply from Lands End to John O┬┤Groats as from London to Liverpool, why should they be prevented, provided always that the rate for the shorter distances not in excess of what it ought to be? The more the railways can, as it were, annihilate distance, the better for the public

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