"Tap Line Case" Summary of
New Orleans, Natalbany & Natchez 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.  

NEW ORLEANS, NATALBANY & NATCHEZ RAILWAY. The stockholders of the Natalbany Lumber Company hold practically the entire capital stock, amounting to $155,000, of the New Orleans, Natalbany & Natchez Railway Company, which was incorporated in 1902 and owes the lumber company $181,482.89. As heretofore stated, the Natalbany Lumber Company is controlled by the Denkmann interests, who also own the Kentwood, Greensburg & Southwestern Railroad, supra. The tap line, the mill, and the timber were purchased by the Denkmann interests in one transaction, the value of the properties, however, being separately estimated.

The track of the tap line extends from a connection with the Illinois Central at Natalbany, La., in a northwesterly direction for 25 miles to a point known as Pine Grove. There are about 7 miles of spur tracks and sidings, with nearly 8 miles of unincorporated logging tracks which connect with the tap line at various points. There are said to be station buildings at Natalbany, Montpelier, and Pine Grove, with public team tracks; and the tap line has track scales. It has 10 locomotives, 2 passenger cars, a caboose, 6 box cars, and 130 flat cars, 2 motor cars, and a pile driver. Six of the locomotives are leased to the lumber company at a charge of $12 per day for each. The tap line employs 3 agents, 4 train crews, and 5 gangs of trackmen, none of whom are employed by the lumber company.

The Natalbany Lumber Company has three sawmills, two of which, together with the planer, are about a mile from Natalbany at a point designated as Mason. The other sawmill is within 100 feet of the right of way of the Illinois Central in Natalbany, but the loading track is owned by the tap line.

The logs are loaded by employees of the lumber company and are assembled into trains and hauled over the unincorporated spurs to the main track by the lumber company, which uses for that purpose the locomotives leased from the tap line. The latter hauls the logs to the mill and the train men unload them into the pond. At the end of each month a bill is rendered to the lumber company for the movement of the logs, at a rate of 3 cents per 100 pounds. The lumber manufactured at the three mills is switched by the tap line a distance of from 1,500 feet to about 1 mile to the interchange track, from which they are taken by the Illinois Central. The agent of the trunk line issues the bills of lading. The rates on lumber in effect over the Illinois Central from Natalbany are applied on shipments from the mills of the proprietary company; and the Illinois Central allows a division of 2 cents per 100 pounds. But the independent mills served by the tap line, of which there are said to be seven, pay on their lumber shipments rates that are 2 cents per 100 pounds higher than the rates from Natalbany.

It is stated that the tap line runs two " mixed trains " in each direction daily on a regular schedule, on which passengers and the mail are carried, and that in addition there are usually four logging trains, on irregular schedule. The passenger and mail earnings for the fiscal year 1910, as reported to the Commission, aggregate $4,246.22. The freight revenue for the same year amounted to $159,051.71. At the end of that year the surplus, as accumulated from the operations of three years, amounted to $73,914. It is estimated that about 80 per cent of the entire freight traffic is supplied by the proprietary company. The volume of forest products for the year 1910 was 236,657 tons and the miscellaneous freight weighed 3,182 tons.

We hold on the facts disclosed in the record of this case that any allowance out of the rate to the tap line in excess of a reasonable switching charge for the service performed on the products of two of the mills of the proprietary company is unlawful. We fix the charge at $1.50 as a maximum. The third mill is situated within 100 feet of the tracks of the Illinois Central, but the switch track has been so laid as to give the tap line a haul of 1,500 feet. On the products of that mill no allowance should be made.

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