"Tap Line Case" Summary of Crittenden 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.  

CRITTENDEN RAILROAD. The stockholders of the Crittenden Lumber Company own $143,000 of the capital stock of the Crittenden Railroad Company, which aggregates $150,000. Part of the remainder is held by persons in one way or another connected with the lumber company, but stock amounting to $5,000 is owned by the president of the tap line, who was formerly interested in the mill, but who claimed at the time of the hearing to have no interest of any kind in the lumber company or in any other industry served by the tap line or in its vicinity. The lumber company owns about 75 per cent of the timberland tributary to the tap line.

The track of the Crittenden Railroad Company extends from Earle, a point on the Iron Mountain about 25 miles west of Memphis, southward for 15 miles to a connection with the Rock Island, at Heth, and then a mile or two beyond. There are 3 or 4 miles of logging spurs and sidetracks. It was incorporated in August, 1905, when 7 or 8 miles were already in operation as a private logging road, the constructing of the line having been begun by the lumber company as long ago as 1899; the track was built into Heth in 1908. The tap line has 2 locomotives, 3 box cars, 1 flat car, and 19 logging cars. It hauls the logs from the forest to the mill, which is about 2-1/2 miles south of Earle, charging the lumber company $5 per car. The mill manufactures hardwood only, and its product moves in about equal proportions over the two trunk lines, the haul over the tap line to the Iron Mountain being about 21, miles and to the Rock Island over 13 miles. Each of the trunk lines makes an allowance of 2 cents per 100 pounds out of its rates to Memphis, Cairo, St. Louis, and Kansas City. On shipments moving to points where there are no divisions in effect the tap line makes a local charge in addition to the rate of the trunk line.

There are said to be seven manufacturing plants served by the tap line in which neither the Crittenden Lumber Company nor the owners of the tap line have any interest; the tap line charges the regular local rates for the movement of logs to these independent mills. It is also claimed that less than 75 per cent of the entire traffic is supplied by the controlling lumber company. Passengers are carried free in the caboose. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 1910, the aggregate freight moving was 78,805 tons, of which 55,719 tons was logs, lumber, and coal for the Crittenden Lumber Company, and. 23,186 tons was merchandise and other commodities handled for the public, as is said. It is of interest to observe, however, that a substantial portion of the outside tonnage claimed by the tap line originated at or was destined to the town of Earle, which is served by the Iron Mountain. In other words, the Rock Island, in connection with the tap line, now divides with the Iron Mountain the traffic of the town of Earle. For example, one of the witnesses on the hearing was a merchant at Earle, whose cotton gin is on a sidetrack connecting with the Iron Mountain. He drays a considerable quantity of cotton to the tracks of the Crittenden Railroad, and the cars are then routed through Heth and over the Rock Island to Memphis.

The tap line files annual reports with the Commission, but the information given is far from complete; and the record indicates that its accounts are not kept in accordance with the regulations of the Commission.

In this case we think that an allowance out of the rate of 2 cents per 100 pounds on the product of the mill may lawfully be made to the tap line by the Rock Island and that for its short switching service to the Iron Mountain rails the latter may lawfully allow a switching charge of $3.

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