"Tap Line Case" Summary of Wilmar & Saline Valley 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.  

WILMAR & SALINE VALLEY RAILROAD. This tap line extends from Wilmar due south 12 miles to Godwin, both in the state of Arkansas. From the latter point 15 miles of logging roads reach in to the timber. All are owned by the Gates Lumber Company, its mill being at Wilmar, where the tap line joins the Iron Mountain. Godwin is a place of 30 or 40 people, most of whom are company employees; the place seems also to be known as Bailey. At one time the tap line ran to the north of the mill, but this track was removed, the lumber company now doing its logging south of the mill. The equipment is owned by the lumber company but is leased to the tap line without charge. The officers of the two companies are practically identical. The lumber company and the tap line have the same paymasters. The tap line files annual reports and claims to keep its accounts as prescribed by this Commission. It also claims to be recognized as a common carrier in Arkansas. While separate books of account are kept, the cash of the tap line is kept with the company cash in the same bank, and all checks are drawn by the lumber company for the tap line. It has no revenues from passenger, mail, or express service. At the time of the hearing a witness said that there was a prospect of moving three carloads of cotton seed; but although it is said to reach some good farming country the annual report for 1910 shows no freight other than forest products.

The tap line has no joint rates with the Iron Mountain to inter-state points except on lumber from Godwin, at its farther end. The rate is made by adding 2 cents to the Iron Mountain rate on lumber from its junction with the tap line at Wilmar. The tap line division is 4 cents, which gives it a net allowance of 2 cents. There is no outside mill on this line, and such a rate adjustment would necessarily discourage the erection of a mill by outsiders, for while it would enable the mill of the Gates Lumber Company, owning the tap line, to compete on an even basis with mills elsewhere, it would put an outside mill erected on the line at a disadvantage of 2 cents per 100 pounds.

The lumber company hauls the logs over the logging lines to the tap line, while the tap line hauls them thence to the mill. On state shipments the mill is shown as the point of origin; on inter-state shipments Godwin, the other end of the tap line, is shown as the point of origin. When asked for an explanation of this difference in the billing, the reply was made that it was not necessary on state shipments to show Godwin as the point of origin because no allowances were paid on any but interstate shipments, and the actual point of origin is therefore shown. From the mill to the Iron Mountain tracks, a distance of 2,000 feet, the manufactured lumber is hauled sometimes by the tap line, but more usually by the Iron Mountain. At the time of the hearing the tap line was doing most of the service, because of the temporary disability of the Iron Mountain engines. The net operating revenue to the tap line for the year 1909, after making substantial allowances for maintenance of way and structures, maintenance of equipment, and transportation expenses, is shown at the sum of $24,872.43. For 1910 it amounted to $29,778.02. Its capital stock amounts to but $50,000 and is said to represent the actual cost of construction; the dividends shown as paid during the year 1910 aggregated $28,164.02, or more than 50 per cent on the investment. These figures, drawn from its own reports without any further examination as to details, include the sums credited to the tap line by the lumber company for its services on the logging road. Accepting its own figures, it appears that the entire operating expense of the tap line, including the cost of its service on the logging road, was substantially made good by the Iron Mountain for both years through its allowances.

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.