24 DECEMBER 1921, Page 3

The English and Welsh railway companies announced on Wednesday that

they would reduce the rates charged for the carriage of coal and coke, lime and limestone, and iron and steel from the New Year. The increase of 100 per cent. in the base rates is to be reduced to 75 per cent. ; the flat rate of mix- pence a ton is to be lowered to fourpenoe a ton. The companies admit that the steel trades arc handicapped to some extent by the high freight charges, but urge their inability to reduce rates any further until the price of coal and materials and the cost of labour show a substantial decline. On the other hand, low railway rates ought to stimulate trade and bring an increase of goods traffic, just as the concessions to travellers have brought more passenger traffic. The railway companies would be well advised to show more courage in reducing rates.