"Tap Line Case" Summary of Fordyce & Princeton 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.  

FORDYCE & PRINCETON RAILROAD. The Fordyce Lumber Company was incorporated in 1890, and erected its mill at Fordyce, Arkansas, about 1 mile from the line of the Cotton Belt System. In the same year and as part of the same investment, the Fordyce & Princeton Railroad Company was organized and laid a track from the Cotton Belt to the plant. When the mill was opened the track was extended northward into the timber for the purpose of hauling logs. From the beginning the tap line has been operated primarily as a facility of the mill. Its main stem runs northward from the mill for a distance of 221 miles to a point known as Old Junction. It parallels, within a distance of about a mile, the line of the Rock Island, which was subsequently built through Fordyce and crosses the Rock Island near Old Junction. From a point named Cynthiana, where there are two farmhouses, there is a branch 6 miles in length crossing the Rock Island and running to Dobbs Mill, where there is a small hardwood mill, and thence to Trigg, a settlement where the lumber company has a store. This line, from Cynthiana to Trigg, was built by the lumber company and transferred to the incorporated tap line shortly before the hearing for a consideration of $42,000. The lumber company has an unincorporated logging track connecting with the tap line at Old Junction and several miles of unincorporated spurs in the vicinity of Trigg. The equipment of the tap line consists of 1 locomotive, 4 box and 67 logging cars. The lumber company uses on its unincorporated tracks three Shay geared locomotives.

Mention is made on the record of a stave company which has a mill at Fordyce, and a manufacturer of spokes, handles, and other hardwood products that is erecting a mill at the same point. Neither of these industries, however, is on the rails of the tap line, but they obtain a considerable quantity of logs from the Fordyce Lumber Company. There are also a few small shippers of staves along the tap line. But the tap line runs so near to the Rock Island that any traffic it receives or originates must necessarily be taken at the expense of the trunk lines. It does not participate in joint rates on any commodities other than lumber outbound and coal inbound. The merchandise, amounting to 265 tons, which it handled during the year 1910, paid the local charge of the tap line in addition to the rates of the trunk line. The shipments of staves and stave bolts moved during the same year for others than the lumber company amounted to 4,288 tons, and it is understood that this moved on a local rate to Fordyce. The traffic of the lumber company itself in the same period amounted to 24,079 tons, of which 264 tons was hay and grain and the rest lumber. The tap line runs two log trains daily in each direction, but does not carry passengers for hire.

The logs are loaded on the unincorporated tracks by the employees of the lumber company, and its locomotives deliver the cars at the junction with the incorporated tap line. They are then taken by the tap line, without cost to the lumber company, to the mill. The tap line moves the lumber from the mill to the line of the Rock Island or Cotton Belt, a distance of about a mile. It receives from the Rock Island divisions ranging from 2 to 4J cents per 100 pounds; and from the Cotton Belt 21 to 3 cents. There is a contract between the lumber company, the tap line, and the Rock Island providing for these divisions and requiring the delivery of at least 50 per cent of its traffic to that company. The record indicates that the most of the lumber goes to destinations where the division is 4 and 4J cents.

The tap line claims to perform a switching service on shipments interchanged between the Cotton Belt and the Rock Island at Fordyce, its revenue in the year 1910 on that account being $1,145.

The annual report to the Commission indicates the payment of a dividend aggregating $5,430 during the year 1910. After the payment of this dividend a deficit was created by the writing off of accrued depreciation on road and equipment.

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.