Section 242. A railroad corporation shall at all times submit its books to the inspection of any committee of the general court authorized to inspect them. The directors of every railroad corporation shall annually within the time prescribed by section thirty-two of chapter one hundred and fifty-nine transmit to the department a return of the corporation for the year ending on December thirty-first preceding which shall be sworn to by the treasurer and the chief accounting officer of the corporation. Such return shall state whether any fatal accident or serious injury has occurred to a passenger or other person upon the railroad during the year, and, if so, the cause of such accident or injury and the circumstances under which it occurred; shall set forth copies of all contracts or leases made with other railroad corporations during the year, and specify the receipts and expenditures under the same; and shall include a detailed statement of all particulars relative to the railroad, its business, receipts and expenditures during the year, in the form to be prescribed by the department under said section thirty-two. The books of each corporation shall be so kept that returns may be made in exact conformity with the form so prescribed; and the accounts shall be closed on December thirty-first in each year, so that a balance sheet of that date can be taken therefrom and included in the return. Every railroad corporation, neglecting to make said annual return within the time prescribed as aforesaid, or to amend said return within fifteen days, when required by the department as provided in said section thirty-two, shall forfeit fifty dollars for each day during which such neglect continues; and if such corporation unreasonably refuses or neglects to make said return, it shall forfeit not more than five thousand dollars.