"Tap Line Case" Summary of De Queen & Eastern 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.  

DE QUEEN & EASTERN RAILROAD. The stockholders of the Dierks Lumber & Coal Company own nine-tenths of the capital stock of the De Queen & Eastern Railroad Company, and the two companies have practically the same officers. The tap line was incorporated in 1900 and the two companies were in their origin one and the same investment, and have so continued to the present time, the railroad being built as a facility in the lumbering operations. The book value of the road is said to approximate $600,000 and capital stock is outstanding to the amount of $593,700. When the mill was opened, in 1902, about 8 miles of the track had been laid. As described on the record, the tap line consists of about 27 miles of main track connecting with the Kansas City Southern at De Queen, Ark., extending southeasterly to a point known as Locks-burg, and thence northeasterly to its terminus at Dierks. There are also about 15 miles of logging spurs and sidings, and the tap line has steel sufficient for about 30 miles of logging spurs. The tap line claims to have four station buildings along its line, costing about $1,000 each, with a building used as its general office at De Queen. It also has track scales for weighing carload shipments and shops for repairing its equipment. There are 5 locomotives, 3 box cars, 74 flat cars, and 20 other cars, and in addition 2 log loaders. The tap line has 5 station agents, 1 train crew, and a number of track and shop men. It is said that none of its employees work for the lumber company. But the salaries paid by the tap line to its officials, who are also officials of the lumber company, aggregate $650 per month.

The yellow-pine sawmill of the controlling company was formerly located at De Queen, within one-quarter mile of the tracks of the Kansas City Southern, but it was destroyed by fire about a year previous to the hearing. The statement made of record is that the mill will be rebuilt when the condition of the lumber market improves. The proprietary company also has a small hardwood mill, which was shut down shortly after the burning of the yellow-pine mill. It is said that there are also six independent sawmills along the line and five cotton gins. The capacity of these mills is not stated, but seems to be small. There are five towns or settlements along the line, having a population of three or four hundred each, with one or two stores; one is a county seat. The tap line carries passengers, mail, and express, its revenues from that traffic aggregating about $7,000 for the fiscal year 1910. Its freight revenues for the same year aggregated $46,003.76. The freight moved consisted of 49,217 tons of lumber and forest products and 5,301 tons of other commodities. The tonnage of lumber represented the shipments that had accumulated before the mill was burned together with about two months' supply of logs for the hardwood mill. At the time of the hearing very little lumber was left at the mill for movement.

When the mill was in operation the practice was for the tap line to load the logs on the logging spurs, making a charge of $1.25 per car against the lumber company; the tap line set up an additional charge of $6 per car for hauling the logs over the spurs to the junction with its main track, including the maintenance of the spurs; and without charge against the lumber company the tap line hauled the logs over its main track to the mill. It also switched the lumber from the mill to the trunk line, a distance of about a quarter of a mile. The trunk line allowed out of its rates on yellow-pine lumber divisions varying from 2 to 6 cents per 100 pounds, the average allowance actually made approximating 4 cents. The rates from points on the tap line, however, are 2 cents higher than the rate of the trunk line from the junction point, so that the net allowance runs up to 4 cents or less, the average net allowance being about 2 cents. No arbitrary is added to the junction point rate to make the rates from points on the tap line on hardwood lumber.

We are not advised whether the mill has been rebuilt and is again in operation. But if so, no division should be made on its products in excess of a reasonable switching charge, which we fix at $1.50 per car.

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.