"Tap Line Case" Summary of Kentwood, Greensburg & Southwestern 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.  

KENTWOOD, GREENSBURG & SOUTHWESTERN RAILROAD. The Kentwood, Greensburg & Southwestern Railroad Company is controlled by the shareholders of the Amos Kent Lumber & Brick Company, who own practically the entire capital stock. That company in turn is subsidiary to the F. C. Denkmann Company, which also controls the Natalbany Lumber Company and its tap line, the New Orleans, Natalbany & Natchez, hereinafter described.

The Kentwood, Greensburg & Southwestern connects with the Illinois Central at Kents Mill, near Kentwood, La., and extends in a westerly direction for about 16 miles to Freiler. The track is narrow gauge, laid with 35 and 40 pound steel. Beyond t-he terminus the lumber company has an unincorporated track; it also has logging spurs connecting with the tap line at various points and extending into the timber. The tap line has 7 locomotives, 3 of which are leased to and used by the lumber company, and 2 so-called passenger cars, which are, in fact, rebuilt cabooses. There are also about 70 freight or logging cars.

The construction of the tap line was begun as long ago as 1850, and it was completed to Freiler in 1904. Apparently it was operated as a private facility of the mill. In any event it was not incorporated until 1906, after it had been purchased by the Denkmann interests at a cost of $100,000 from the prior owners, who also conveyed the mill and timber. Its authorized capital stock was fixed at $350,000, of which $100,000 was issued. The tap line owes the lumber company nearly $50,000.

The Amos Kent Company has a sawmill on the tracks of the Illinois Central at the junction point, where it also has a brick plant and commissaries and stores. There are said to be four other small sawmills along the tap line, which obtain their logs by means of drays, one of which is served by a spur track about 600 feet in length connecting with the tap line. One or two small towns, each having a population of less than 300, are reached by the tap line, which has a station and an agent at Freiler, and one also at the junction point.

The logs are hauled to the mill of the proprietary company by the tap line from the loading point, and are dumped into the pond by the train men. A charge of 3 cents per 100 pounds is passed to the credit of the tap line by the lumber company on its books, but apparently is not actually paid. The Illinois Central places the empty cars at the mill and takes the shipments of lumber therefrom. The rates on lumber which it publishes in connection with the tap line are uniformly 2 cents per 100 pounds higher than the rate from the j unction point; and the gross allowance is 4 cents per 100 pounds. Shipments of lumber by the independent sawmills are loaded on narrow-gauge cars and hauled by the tap line to the junction point, where it transfers the lumber into standard-gauge cars furnished by the Illinois Central; the latter company issues a bill of lading reading from the junction point. On such shipments the tap line apparently assesses a local charge of 3 cents per 100 pounds in addition to the rate of the Illinois Central from the junction point; and the shipper is also required to pay 50 cents per 1,000 feet for the transfer of the lumber from car to car.

The aggregate traffic for the year ending June 30, 1910, was 64,082 tons, of which all but 3,762 tons was supplied. by the proprietary company. There were 765 tons of agricultural products moving out-bound, and 1,597 tons of merchandise and miscellaneous freight. The remainder of the tonnage was forest products. The revenue from all this traffic was $51,785.34. The tap line received $801.58 for carrying the mail, and received on passenger traffic $2,823.83. It had a net surplus on June 30, 1910, of $12,508.11. No salaries are paid to its officers, who are officers also of the lumber company.

Here again the mill of the proprietary company is not only immediately on the rails of the trunk line but the service on the products of the mill is performed by the trunk line. Under such circumstances we regard any allowance to the tap line on the products of the mill of the controlling company as an unlawful rebate to the lumber company.

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.