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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 61

Differential Rating

Differential Rating

system sprang up. I think the great Arch Fiend must have laughed his loudest when this villanously dishonest method of trading was brought into existence, at its door I lay the charge of nine-tenths of the poverty, wretchedness, misery, and crime, that is in existence at the present period.

page 58

It is most difficult for me to convey to you any adequate idea of what this system really means. Very few, even among skilled railway men, really understand it, and fewer still have any idea of its far reaching and disastrous effects, on the commercial, social, and moral condition of the people. * * *

To put the matter broadly, "Differential Rating" simply means plunder your customer, when, where, and how you can. Get money out of him by some means, legally if convenient, if not, illegally, but money you must get. When I say illegally, I speak advisedly and with a full knowledge of what I am saying; and to prove the truth of my accusation, I quote the fact that it is an everyday practice of the English railway companys to charge their customers from 300 to 1,000 per cent, above the maximum rates they are allowed by law to charge; and so difficult is it to deal with these powerful institutions that they do not hesitate to publish these excess charges in their rate books, and only charge the legal rates in those rare instances when they have to deal with people who know too much for them. * * * *

From the time of the opening of the London and Birmingham line, in 1838, the progress of railway construction has been great and rapid everywhere. In Great Britain 19,000 miles of railway have been constructed at a capital cost of about £800,000,000. All the chief centres of population have been brought into connection with the metropolis, and from the period mentioned dates the commencement of the enormous growth of the population of London and a few of the great provincial cities, but for purposes of comparison I will confine myself to