"Tap Line Case" Summary of Ouachita & Northwestern 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.  

OUACHITA & NORTHWESTERN RAILROAD. The Ouachita & Northwestern Railroad Company was incorporated in May, 1905, and its stock was distributed by the Louisiana Central Lumber Company as a dividend to the stockholders of that company. Title to the right of way, track, and equipment thereto-fore owned and operated by the lumber company was turned over to the new corporation. The two companies are practically identical in their stockholders and in their officers.

The lumber company has two mills, one at Clarks and the other at Standard, La., each being about one-half mile from the track of the Iron Mountain. Each is served by rails of the Ouachita & Northwestern. In other words, the tap line as described on the record consists of two separate tracks, respectively designated as the Jackson divisors and as the Standard division. The Jackson division serves the mill at Clark, and extends from the point of connection with the Iron Mountain in a northwesterly direction for about 20 miles, with logging branches aggregating 15 miles in length. This track was not completed and put in operation until September, 1910. There had been, however, a track, constructed in 1903, running south-easterly from Clarks for a distance of 14 miles. When the timber in that direction was cut out the track was taken up and the line abandoned. In doing this no consideration was given to the rights or convenience of the farmers and one or two other outside shippers in that vicinity. There was also a small lumber mill about 6 miles southeast of Clarks which shipped two or three carloads a week over that track. That mill was still in operation at the time of the hearing, and apparently had to team its lumber to the Iron Mountain. The other section of the tap line connects with the Iron Mountain at Standard, which is some miles south of Clarks, and runs for 9 miles eastward to a point known as SUmmerville. This track was acquired from another lumber company in 1906.

The tap line has 7 locomotives and 150 cars. Its logging-train service is apparently irregular. It hauls the logs to the mills and switches the lumber to the trunk line, which allows a division of from 2 to 4 cents per 100 pounds out of the rate, most of the traffic being subject to the maximum division. For the movement of the logs to the mill and the expense of maintaining and changing the logging spurs the tap line makes a charge of $1.50 per 1,000 feet against the lumber company. This is in addition to the division of the through rate. The outside traffic is comparatively small, amounting for the year ending June 30, 1910, to but 1,661 tons out of an aggregate movement of 412,205 tons, or a fraction of 1 per cent. The annual reports to the Commission indicate a substantial profit from its operations.

An interesting fact vas developed on the hearing of this case. It appears from the testimony of its witness that an understanding was had between the Ouachita & Northwestern and the Iron Mountain respecting the payment of divisions; and the agreement on the part of the Iron Mountain to allow 4 cents per 100 pounds was accepted by the lumber company as a warrant for purchasing additional timber lying farther from the trunk line. It is frankly stated that other timber lying nearer the trunk line would have been purchased had not this concession been granted by the iron Mountain to the tap line.

This tap line is clearly in the class of cases disposed of in our original report. Each of the mills of the proprietary company is about one-half mile from the tracks of the Iron Mountain and the group rate therefore extends from the mills. If it performs for the Iron Mountain the service of moving the cars to and from the mills, the lumber company may have a reasonable allowance under section 15 of the act.

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