3 AUGUST 1850, Page 16

The Report of her Majesty's Commissioners of Railways, for 1849,

supplies some points of interest. The increase of railway communica- tion in 1849 was 869 miles ; the distance open to the public at the end of 1848 being 5,127, and 5,996 miles at the end of 1849. At the end of 1849, there were powers in existence for the completion of additional lines amounting to 6,030 miles : the progress of construction, how- ever, had become more and more slack ; in the past year' "all work had ceased" on 350 miles of line which were returned as in pro- gress in 1848: probably, of the 6,030 miles remaining to be opened at the end of 1849, not more than 1,000 miles were then in pro- gress of construction. The reduction of employment, in consequence of this cessation of progress, extended to 84,361 persons in 1848; in the course of the current year probably 60,000 more persons will be thrown out of work by a still further checking of progress : the total of those who were engaged in work on railways in 1845, and who will be out of employ at the end of this year, will be not less that 200,000 persons. The in- crease of opened line in 1847, 1848, and 1849, was at the respective rates of 30.30, 24.28, and 21.63 per cent ; but the increase of receipts per mile was only at the respective rates of 9.22, 6.96, and 13.27 per cent. The gross receipts in 1849 were about 11,806,0001., which left a net profit of about 6,729,4201. ; and Ihis sum gives a dividend of about 3.40 per cent to holders of property amounting to 197,500,0001. Yet up- wards of 40,000,0001. of the capital was raised at an average rate of 4f.:- per cent interest. From a desire to increase mileage, the compa- nies have, at an increasing rate, reported themselves prepared to open lines which the Commissioners have thought unsafe to open : in 1848 the postponements from-this cause were but 11, in 1849 they were 42. The accidents decrease, even absolutely and without reference to the increase of passengers carried ; those dependent on causes beyond the control of the passengers were one-third lees in 1849 than in 1848, though the pas- sengers conveyed-63,841,539—were 10 per cent more than in 1848.