"Tap Line Case" Summary of Louisiana Central 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.  

LOUISIANA CENTRAL RAILROAD. The Louisiana Central Railroad Company was incorporated in 1904, and its entire capital stock, amounting to $250,000, was issued to and is now held by the stockholders of the W. R. Pickering Lumber Company, to which it is indebted for loans amounting to nearly $75,000. The two corporations are not only identical in interest but have the same officers.

The tap line consists of two separate pieces of track, about 20 miles apart. One is designated as the northern division; it connects with the Kansas City Southern at Barham, La., where the lumber company has a mill, and extends in a westwardly direction for about 9.5 miles into the timber, terminating at a point known as Bayou Toro. This track was originally constructed by the lumber company as a private logging road, and the title was transferred for stock of the railroad corporation when later formed. The lumber company has about 10 miles of unincorporated spurs connecting with this track. The lumber produced at the Barham mill is loaded on cars standing on the tracks of the Kansas City Southern, and the only service performed by the tap line is the movement of the logs to the mill.

The so-called southern division serves two mills of the lumber company, one at the junction of the tap line with the Kansas City Southern at Pickering, La., and the other about one-half mile from the junction of the tap line with the rails of the Santa Fe at Cravens. The Lake Charles & Northern uses the line of the Santa Fe through Cravens under trackage rights. The track of the Louisiana Central from Pickering to Cravens is about 19 miles in length and extends beyond the Santa Fe for a distance of about 10 miles. There are a number of logging spurs connecting with the southern division and operated by the tap line. The main track -was in part constructed by the lumber company and turned over to the tap line when incorporated.

The greater portion of the lumber manufactured at the Cravens mill is hauled by the tap line for a distance of about 19 miles to Pickering and delivered to the Kansas City Southern. A few car-loads from that mill move out over the Lake Charles & Northern or the Santa Fe, whose track is about one-half mile distant, and in such case the Lake Charles & Northern allows the tap line a switching charge of $2.50 a car. Substantially the entire output of the mill at Pickering moves out over the Kansas City Southern, and the record indicates that 75 per cent of the tonnage at that mill is moved by the Kansas City Southern from the mill without the aid or intervention of the tap line.

The tap line has 10 locomotives, 1 combination passenger and baggage car, 4 freight cars, 1 caboose, 5 other cars, and 166 logging cars. It has station agents at Cravens, Pickering, and Barham, who are also employees of the lumber company. It employs about 60 trackmen, who work not only on its main tracks but on the logging spurs of the southern division. The tap line runs one train daily out of Barham, which is referred to on the record as a passenger train; but its passenger earnings are insignificant, having amounted to only $83.64 in 1910. Apparently a single log train is also run with more or less regularity on the southern division. But on both. divisions practically the only movement is logs and lumber of the Pickering Lumber Company. The total traffic for the year ending June 30, 1910, was 216,346 tons, of which 99 per cent was supplied by the controlling lumber company.

The Kansas City Southern allows a division of from three-fourths cent to 5z cents per 100 pounds out of its rates on yellow-pine lumber, the maximum division being paid out of the rate of 24 cents to Kansas City. With the exception of the switching charge heretofore referred to, no divisions are accorded the tap line by the Lake Charles & Northern or the Santa Fe; and the result seems to be that those lines get scarcely any of the traffic. The lumber company is charged $1.25 per 1,000 feet, log measure, for the service performed by the tap line on the logging spurs. But no charge is made against the lumber company for the movement. of the logs over the main tracks of the tap line to the several mills.

As heretofore stated, the lumber is taken from the mill at Barham, on the so-called northern division, by the trunk line itself, whose tracks apparently reach that mill; the service by the tap line of bringing the logs to the mill is purely a plant service, and any allowance by the Kansas City Southern, either to the tap line or to the lumber company, would be clearly unlawful.

There are two mills on the so-called southern division. From the mill at Pickering the Kansas City Southern itself moves the major portion of the l Lumber without aid by the tap line, the mill being within 1,000 feet of the Kansas City Southern tracks. We see no grounds upon which an allowance to the tap line may lawfully be made on the products of either of the mills, but an allowance may be made to the lumber company under section 15 on lumber delivered by it to the carriers at Cravens from the mill at that point. The mill at Cravens is one-half mile from the tracks of the Santa Fe, over which the Lake Charles & Northern has running rights.

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.