"Tap Line Case" Summary of Thornton & Alexandria 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.  

THORNTON & ALEXANDRIA RAILWAY. The mill of the Stout Lumber Company is within a few feet of the line of the Cotton Belt in the town of Thornton, Ark., and has been in operation for about 25 years. The lumber company was formerly known as the Stout-Greer Lumber Company, and some 15 years ago built 18 miles of narrow-gauge track for the purpose of bringing in logs to the mill. In 1904 the Thornton & Alexandria Railway Company was incorporated; the lumber company declared a dividend to its stockholders payable in stock in the new corporation, to which it turned over the tracks and equipment. The line was then changed to standard gauge, the money for that purpose being furnished, apparently, by the lumber company, to which the tap line is now indebted in a sum exceeding $80,000. The two companies are a part of the same general investment.

The tap line connects with the Cotton Belt at Thornton and runs in a southerly direction to Hampton, which is the county seat. The lumber company has about 5 miles of unincorporated logging tracks which connect with the tap line at Hampton. The tap line has 4 locomotives, 1 combination passenger car, 1 caboose, 9 freight cars, and 50 logging cars.

The lumber company owns about 70,000 acres of timberland, of which something over 20,000 acres have been cut over; the remaining timber will be exhausted at the present rate of cut in about 30 years. The tap line hauls the cars from the point where they are loaded, on the private logging spurs of the lumber company, through Hampton and over its own tracks to the mill, charging the lumber company $1.25 per 1,000 feet, log scale, for the service performed. on the spurs. The manufactured lumber is loaded into cars standing on the tracks of the Cotton Belt. The tap line receives from the Cotton Belt a division on yellow-pine lumber of from 1 to 21 cents per 100 pounds, the joint rate being the same as the Cotton Belt's rate from the junction point. There are no joint rates on hardwood lumber, although there are said to be a number of independent shippers of staves, bolts, and heading; those shippers pay the tap line a local charge of 5 cents per 100 pounds in addition to the rates of the Cotton Belt. The tap line also has some joint class and commodity rates out of which it receives a division of 15 per cent. The total traffic for the year ending June 30, 1910, as shown on its report to the Commission, was 63,372 tons, of which 3,367 tons was miscellaneous freight and the rest lumber and other forest products. It is said that there are a number of farmers and producers of freight in the country traversed by the tap line; and the town of Hampton is said to have a population of nearly 1,000, with some 19 stores. About 95 per cent of the entire tonnage is supplied by the controlling lumber company. The tap line runs one logging train daily in each direction, carrying passengers and the mail. Its revenue from passengers for the year 1910 aggregated $2,648.96, and its earnings from mail and express $1,396.83, its entire operating revenue for the year being $42,995.92.

This tap line performs no service on the products of the proprietary lumber company moving out over the Cotton Belt; its haul of the logs to the mill we hold to be a plant service. We are now advised that a connection has been made with the Rock Island at Tinsman. If lumber from the mill moves through that junction the Rock Island may pay a division out of the rate not exceeding 1 cent per 100 pounds.

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.