"Tap Line Case" Summary of Bearden & Ouachita River Railroad  
  Abstracted from "Tap Line Case", published in Decisions of the Interstate Commerce Commission, 23 I.C.C. 277, 23 I.C.C. 549, and in Decisions of the United States Supreme Court, 234 U.S. 1.  

BEARDEN & OUACHITA RIVER RAILROAD. The mill of the Cotton Belt Lumber Company at Best, Ark., was erected in 1885 and is served by the St. Louis Southwestern Railway Company. The tracks and equipment which the lumber company constructed and acquired a few years later for the hauling of logs to its mill were conveyed in 1904 to a railroad corporation which it then created, known as the Bearden & Ouachita River Railroad Company. The new corporation, as is admitted of record, was formed for the purpose of legalizing allowances out of the published rates. Its capital stock, amounting to $28,000, was distributed among the stockholders of the lumber company as a stock dividend, and the shares in the two companies are now held substantially by the same persons and in the same proportion. It has no bonded or other indebtedness, the capitalization representing the cost of the road except for some seven or eight thousand dollars expended out of earnings for betterments.

The tracks of the tap line extend from the mill at Best for a distance of 14 miles to a point known as Caney, from which unincorporated logging spurs extend into the woods. The equipment of the tap line consists of 1 box car and 50 logging cars, together with 3 locomotives, 2 of which are exclusively used by the lumber company for the movement of carloads of logs over the unincorporated spurs to Caney. From that point the logs are hauled by the tap line to the mill. The tap line makes a charge of 10-1 cents per ton against the lumber company, which is intended to cover the use of the tap line locomotives and logging cars on the unincorporated spurs in the woods, and the unloading of the logs by the trainmen of the tap line at the mill. The empty cars are placed at the mill by the trunk line, which subsequently moves the loaded cars out. The tap line is accorded a division of from 1 to 21 cents per 100 pounds out of the published rates. There are no joint rates either for class freight or for other commodities than lumber; such merchandise as is handled pays a local rate to or from the junction point in addition to the charge of the trunk line. The traffic includes an occasional carload of cotton, fertilizer, feed, or supplies, of which a substantial proportion is for the lumber company and its employees. More than 95 per cent of the tonnage, amounting for the year 1910 to 58,000 tons, consisted of logs handled for the lumber company. There is one train daily in each direction operated on an irregular schedule, on which passengers are permitted to ride without charge. The employees consist of one train crew and one gang of track men. The woods foreman of the lumber company acts as agent for the tap line at Caney.

Annual reports are filed with the Commission and show that the operation of the tap line is profitable.

Text and images were digitized and proofread from the original source documents by Murry Hammond. Contact Murry for all corrections, additions, and contributions of new material.