23 DECEMBER 1905, Page 23

The Ways of Our Railways. By Charles H. Grinling. (Ward,

Lock, and Co. 10s. 6d. net.)—This book is full from cover to cover of quite surprising facts and figures. To begin with : How many railways are there in England ? A person with a fair memory might recall a score or so of names. Really there are about two hundred, a number reduced by a half, however, when we deduct the leased lines. Then one asks : How many employes ? Here the answerer would probably be altogether at a loss. The answer is about 600,000. Half of these are employed as managers of various degrees, clerks, drivers, porters, &c. ; one-third on the permanent way and rolling-stock ; and the remainder on sub- sidiary offices. The London and North-Western, for instance, which employs about one-seventh of the whole (to whom it pays more than £80,000 weekly), has 4,085 engine-drivers, 2,981 engine- cleaners, 9,278 clerks, 7,276 permanent-way men, 7,286 porters, and 11,806 mechanics. About £1,000,000,000 represents the capital, and £42,639,000 the net receipts for a year, the average interest being 34 per cent. (It is interesting to see that Mulhall gives for the year 1882 the capital expenditure at £770,000,000, the employes at 262,000, and the dividend at 4.20 per cent.) The whole book is worth reading, if for nothing else, because it makes us realise what a vast and complicated affair the railway system of the United Kingdom is, and suggests that there is far more to admire than to criticise in it.