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GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT OF RAILWAS MAIL SERVICE
FISCAL YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, 18-5.
RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE,
Washington, 1), C., Norember 7, 1885. SIR: In submitting, berewith, my aunual report of the operations of this service for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1885; I beg to invite special attention to the first of the series of tabular statements hereto attached and marked A, and particularly to the recapitulation of this table, to which has been added the more material portions of Table Eo, in order to show in condensed form the amount of work done, as well as the facilities and force required to perform the labor, so far as the nature and extent of so vast a business would permit of its being shown in comprehensive tabulated form.
TABLE A".-RAILWAY POST-OFFICE LINES. Compared with the previous annual statement this table shows the following increases : 13 railway post office lines; 339 clerks at work on lines; +24 clerks in the service (including railway postal clerks empioyed upon steamboat lines); 5,106 miles run by clerks; 3,761,701 annual miles of service perforinell by clerks; and also that 155 cars, or apartments in cars; were added to the equipment of lines.
TABLE B'.-STEAMBOAT MAIL SERVICE. This table shows the steamboat mail lines upon which railway postal clerks were employed during the year. This branch of the service continues to be gradually superseded by railway lines or star service, and, as appears from the table referred to, there was a decrease of 1 in the number of lines, 5 in the number of clerks employed on lines, 11 mail apartments, 1,168 miles in the mileage of route over which clerks run, and 57,329 annual miles of service performed by clerks.
TABLE C^.-CLOSED-POUCII SERVICE. This statement is an exhibit in detail of service performed by means of closed ponches on railroads upon which no postal clerks are employed.
These are short lines or parts of lines running through sparsely settled regions or in localities where the receipts from the post offices supplied would not warrant additional expenditure for railway post office service.
The increase in the number of closed-punch lines, as shown by this table, was 20, and the increase in the number of pouches exchanged daily was 2,805. There was a decrease of 1,491 miles of route and 585,576 in the annual miles of service.
This table is a continuation of the statement of the railway mail service beginning with the year 1830, and is brought up to the end of the fiscal year 1885.
From a glance at this table the fact will be noticed that on the 30th of June, 1866, the year following the resumption of mail service in the Southeru States, and which may be said to mark the beginning of the second era in postal history, the mails were carried over but 32,092 miles of railroad, while in the succeeding nineteen years the mileage has been increased to 121,032, being an annual average increase of 4,681 miles. The increase during the past year was only 3,872 miles; but it is believed that, on account of the revival of business, to which the present indications seem to unmistakably point, this average rate of increase will be equaled, if not exceeded, during the current fiscal year.
TABLES E, F, and G8.-MAIL DISTRIBUTED, ETC.
Table Ee is a statement by divisions of mails distributed in railway postal cars, from which it appears that the increase in the number of pieces handled during the year, exclusive of registered matter, was 428,397,500. This shows the percentage of increase over the fiscal year ended June 30, 1884, to have been 9.48. There was a decrease of 2.65 per cent. in the number of pieces of registered matter handled. This decrease is accounted for by the fact that the through registered pouch system was rapidly extended during the year, consequently, while the number of separate registered packages handled slightly decreased, the number of through registered pouches receipted for, recorded, and delivered was 11,723, or 1.65 per cent. in excess of the number reported
It will be observed that while the increase in the number of pieces of ordinary mail matter handled during the year was 9.48 per cent., the increase in the clerical force was about tive-sixths of one per cent. in excess of that percentage; and it may be well to explain that this differ. ence is owing mainly to the fact that, late in the last fiscal year, it became apparent that the appropriation for the maintenance of the service was in danger of becoming entirely exhausted before the new appropriation became available, and in order to avoid the creation of a deticiency it was deemed expedient to hold in abeyance all extensions of service requiring additional help until after the commencement of the new year. This difference, therefore, is more apparent than real.
Table Ff shows in detail the correctness of the distribution by divisions, by which it will be seen, in a total distribution of 4,948,059,400 pieces, the number of errors chargeable to the clerks of this service was but 887,70+, or one error to each 5, 574 pieces handleid, being at the rate of 224 errors per clerk per annum, or å tritle over one error for each two days' work.
The average percentage of mail correctly clistributed during the year