"Tap Line Case" Summary of Natchez, Urania & Ruston 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.  

NATCHEZ, URANIA & RUSTON RAILWAY. The Natchez, Urania & Ruston Railway is controlled by the stock-holders of the Urania Lumber Company through ownership of the entire capital stock. The two companies are one investment and the officers are identical.

It extends from a connection with the Iron Mountain at Urania, La., into the timber about 14 miles. The road was originally constructed in 1899 by the Urania Lumber Company as a private logging road. It was incorporated March 29, 1902, under the laws of Louisiana, with a capital stock of $100,000, of which $50,000 has been issued for the purchase of the road from the lumber company. This purchase only covered the steel, ties, and equipment, the lumber company retaining the title to the right of way. There are no bonds.

The equipment consists of 2 locomotives and 24 cars. The lumber company owns no equipment or motive power.

The mill of the lumber company is located at Urania, about 300 yards from the connection with the Iron Mountain. There are no other mills in operation on the line. The lumber company owns about 50 per cent of the timber tributary to the tap line. There is no other timber owned in sufficient quantities to justify a mill operation.

The tap line constructs and maintains short logging spurs into the timber, and loads the logs upon the cars and hauls them to the mill, where they are unloaded into the log pond by the train crew. For the entire service a charge is made against the lumber company of $1.50 per 1,000 feet, which, it is stated, only covers the keeping up of the logging spurs, the loading of the logs, and their delivery at the main incorporated track of the tap line.

The Iron Mountain handles the empty and loaded cars between the. mill and the junction with its main line, using the tracks of the tap line. ' The tap line receives divisions from the Iron Mountain of from 2 cents to 4 cents per 100 pounds out of the through rates on lumber. The divisions have been received since the original construction of the road and were not changed after the incorporation.

The tap line has no passenger, mail, or express service, but a few passengers are carried free of charge. It handles no logs for others than the controlling lumber company. The only outside traffic consists of stave bolts and ties. A small amount of farm products and general merchandise is handled free of charge, as the record indicates. No revenue is derived from operation other than that accruing from the movement of logs and lumber for the controlling interests except a small revenue for the movement of staves and ties for the public, for which a charge of $15 per car is made.

The tap line does not file annual reports with the Commission. It is admitted that the net earnings in 1909 were in excess of $10,000, and that the net revenue for the fiscal year ending ' June 30, 1910, was about 15 per cent on an investment of $70,000.

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.