Hazardous Business
Illustration
Industry, Regulation, and the Texas Railroad Commission

Page from Doubleheader hearing, ca. 1900

One of the main activities of the Railroad Commission was to hold public hearings. This formal hearing, with Chairman Reagan presiding, concerned the safety of the use of "doubleheaders," the use of two engines to run a train. Railroad employees objected to the practice and were especially concerned over the safety of the crew in the second engine. Railroad companies defended the practice, citing the use of doubleheaders on many railroads outside Texas, denying that safety problems were any greater than on single-engine trains, and pointing to the greater pulling power and increased efficiency of larger trains.

The typed transcript of this hearing is over 500 pages long and consists entirely of witness testimony. The witnesses were sworn in and responded to questions under both direct and cross examination. The many witnesses included engineers, brakemen, conductors, officials of railroad unions, freight agents, and general superintendents and other officers of railroad companies. Pages are missing from both the beginning and the end of the transcript, and there is no title page or conclusion.

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Page from doubleheader hearing, 1900

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Page from Doubleheader hearing, ca. 1900. Railroad Commission, "Doubleheader" hearing. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: August 17, 2011