Note About Former Railroad Employee Records
The Erie Lackawanna Historical Society does not have access to nor maintain in its Archives employee records from the DL&W, Erie or Erie Lackawanna. Two web sites that might prove useful to those in search of employee records are the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board web site and for former Erie Railroad employees and a possible lead for former DL&W employees, Jim Sponholz's web site pages dedicated to helping find former railroad employee records.
This article contains a searchable index of the current ELHS Archives holding of railroad valuation maps. Please read the following in order to understand how these maps are organized. The index can be found at the end of the article.
The Valuation Act of 1913, passed into law on March 1, 1913, required the Interstate Commerce Commission to organize a Bureau of Valuation and to administer a complete valuation of the real property and assets of every railroad in the United States. The Act was a classic piece of Progressive Era railroad legislation designed to find a scientific basis for setting railroad tariffs (or shipping charges) by determining the real value of each railroad's property and assets. The legislators who drafted the Act assumed that with this information the ICC would be able to set rates according to the principle of a reasonable rate of return on the real value of each railroad and the industry as a whole. The ICC formulated a set of procedural and reporting standards for the valuation and then permitted the individual railroads to complete the valuation under the nominal supervision of an ICC administrator. The valuation process began in 1914 and was substantially complete by 1921.
Line 1: type of map, usually Right of Way and Track or Land Map
Line 2: owning or original railroad at time of valuation
Line 3: operating railroad
Line 4: division, branch or spur designation
Line 5: station (x) to station (x). (X) are the beginning and end chaining station numbers for that individual sheet. Chaining numbers run consecutively and correspond to field survey records of all items noted in the course of the valuation. Chaining numbers usually run continuously from end point to end point of each valuation section.
Line 6: scale for right-of-way maps is generally 1 inch = 100 feet, though 1 inch = 200 feet is also common (most of the Chicago and Erie Railroad sheets are in this scale). Most land maps use a 1 inch = 50 feet scale. Other map types are: Station map - lands and Station map - tracks.
Circle line A: valuation section number and state
Circle line B: sheet number.
Note on map date: The base line date for valuation maps in the northeastern part of the United States is June 30, 1918. While the actual survey and drafting date for each valuation section may fall before or even after this date, the valuation map represents data as of June 30, 1918.
Each sheet generally depicts the ROW, tracks, railroad owned or railroad served structures, milepost and chaining notations, presence of bridges, culverts, fences, signals, stations, water facilities, bodies of water, crossing roadways and outlines of railroad owned property outside of the ROW, name of the county, state and town and indication of geographic north. Crossing and interchanging railroads are also indicated. In addition, most maps contain a "Schedule of Property" that lists the grantor, grantee, instrument of transfer, date of grant, deed book reference, custodian's number and any explanatory remarks for each piece of railroad property on the sheet. Generally speaking, Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad sheets read left to right, and Erie System sheets read right to left. In most cases valuation sections run from railroad east to railroad west, though some of the Erie's State of Pennsylvania non-trunk valuation sections read railroad north to railroad south.
Additional materials concerning valuation records, map sheets, and the Bureau of Valuation can be found in the National Archives. Information on researching railroad records at the National Archives can be found in following resources:
Moore, T. Lane. "Railroad Valuation Records: A Report of Interstate Commerce Commission Valuation Records at the National Archives." Railroad History 163 (1990) 93-102.
Pfeiffer, David A. "Riding the Rails Up Paper Mountain: Researching Railroad Records in the National Archives." Prologue vol. 29 no.1 (1997) 52-61.
---------------------. "Records Relating to North American Railroads," Reference Information Paper 91. National Archives and Record Administration, 2001.
The Railroad and Locomotive Historical Society website contains a complete copy of RIP 91 at: rlhs.org/research.htm
Railroad Valuatoin Maps Index
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