"Tap Line Case" Summary of Griffin, Magnolia & Western Railway  
  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.  

SOUTHERN PINE SYSTEM. (GRIFFIN, MAGNOLIA & WESTERN). The so-called Southern Pine System seems to be an informal association of four tap lines, two of which, known as the Griffin, Magnolia & Western Railway Company and the Saline Bayou Railway Company, are Arkansas corporations, and the others, namely, Enterprise Railway Company and Natchez, Ball & Shreveport Railway Company, are located in the state of Louisiana. The precise relationship between the four companies as respects their ownership or control is not definitely disclosed of record; but the fact is not important. The four properties are similar in many respects, and their methods of doing business do not differ materially.

The Griffin, Magnolia & Western is controlled by the stockholders of the Louis Werner Saw Mill Company, and its main track, 18 miles in length, connects with the Iron Mountain at Griffin, Ark. The other end of the line is referred to on the record as Graham, but is named on the annual report to the Commission as Junction. There are about 7 miles of logging branches. The tap line has capital stock to the amount of $50,000 and no bonds. Its equipment consists of 3 locomotives, 1 caboose, 2 coal cars, and 25 flat cars, used for hauling logs. The lumber company has neither locomotives nor cars of its own; nor are there any unincorporated logging tracks.

Both the sawmill and the planing mill of the Werner Company are reached by the tracks of the Iron Mountain at Griffin; and the usual practice is for the Iron Mountain to spot the empty cars and take the loaded cars directly from the mill without assistance by the tap line. The tap line hauls the logs to the mill, making a charge against the lumber company of $1.50 per 1,000 feet for the service on the logging spurs up to Junction or Graham; its compensation for the movement of the logs from that point to the mill is the division of the through rate allowed it by the Iron Mountain, which varies from 2 to 5 cents per 100 pounds. It is said that the logs of the Werner Sawmill Company constitute only 65 per cent of the total tonnage of the road. There seem to be one or two other small mills on the line and a number of shippers of staves. The latter pay the local charge of the tap line in addition to the regular charges of the Iron Mountain. A considerable quantity of logs, chiefly hardwood, moves over the tap line to Griffin, and from there is hauled by the Iron Mountain to sawmills along its lines, one of the mills apparently being 300 miles distant. These logs are said to be cut from timberland in which the lumber company is not interested and which is reached by the logging spurs of the tap line; the tap line charges the regular Arkansas log rate for the entire distance from the loading point on the logging spurs to the junction with the Iron Mountain. For the fiscal year 1910 more than 99 per cent of the traffic of the tap line was forest products, which amounted in the aggregate to 59,740 tons. There were 200 tons of farm products and 318 tons of merchandise and miscellaneous freight. No charge is made for carrying passengers.

The first 5 miles of the Griffin, Magnolia & Western was originally built as an unincorporated logging road by a lumber company which subsequently failed. The tap line was incorporated in 1905. Its annual report to the Commission for the year 1910 shows freight revenues of $29,547.56 an a net loss from operation, on June 30, 1910, of $6,097.45. Mention is made of proposed extensions to El Dorado and Champion, which, if constructed, would involve the crossing and paralleling of several other tap lines now built or which have plans of building in that territory.

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.