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M. F. HELMER, MECHANICSVILLE, IOWA,
CHICAGO & NORTHWESTERN RAILWAY COMPANY.
Filed March 22, 1884.
M. F. Helmer made complaint to the Commissioners that a great deal of his stock had been killed by trains on respondents' railway running through his farm in Cedar county, Iowa, and that the company had refused to reimburse him for the losses, alleging in defense that the stock was killed through no fault of said railway or its employes. The Board advised complainant that as the company disputed its liability, and if successful he would require a money judgment, which they had no power under the law to render, his relief must come from the courts.
CHICAGO, MILWAUKEE & ST. PAUL RAILWAY COMPANY.)
Filed March 22, 1884.
Under date of March 20, 1884, complainant sends the Commissioners a claim, supported by affidavits, against the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company for hay burned on his farm near Grafton, Iowa, alleging it to have been set on fire by sparks from engines on said railway. The company refused to entertain his claim, saying that their employes had exercised due care and diligence in operating thier engines, which relieved them from all liability in the matter. Complainant was advised by the Commissioners, that as the company denied their legal liability, if his view of the case were sustained, he would desire a money judgment, which under the law they have no power to render. The courts must furnish the relief asked for.
CITIZENS OF MALVERN, Iowa,
CHICAGO, BURLINGTON & QUINCY AND Wabash,
Filed March 22, 1884.
Petition for union depot
DECISION OF THE COMMISSIONERS.
The Railroad Commissioners are in receipt of a paper dated March 20th, 1884, signed by one hundred and seventy-seven citizens and patrons of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy and Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railways, residing in the vicinity of the crossing of said roads at Malvern, requesting them to take the necessary steps for locating a union depot at the crossing. This petition is evidently based on the provisions of Chapter 24, Laws of the Twentieth General Assembly, which says that "all railroad corporations shall at all points of connection crossing or intersection with the roads of other corporations unite with such corporations in establishing and maintaining suitable platforms and station-houses for the convenience of passengers desiring to transfer from one road to the other, and for the transfer of passengers, baggage, or freight, whenever the same shall be ordered by the Railroad Commissioners." The fact that the law requires the Railroad Commissioners to make an order before it becomes the duty of the corporations to establish stations, implies discretionary powers with the Commissioners, and further makes it a duty officially to examine and determine whether the circumstances are such as to make a union depot necessary. This duty they have performed and find that the C., B. & Q. and W., St. L. & P. Railways have each comfortable station houses on the lines of their respective roads, and that they were erected many years before the passage of this law, the former as early as the platting or laying out of the town, whose growth and building up has been partially with reference to convenience to these railway stations. The distance from the platform of the C., B. & Q. R'y to that of the W., St. L. & P., measured along the sidewalk, the way people travel from one station to the other, is 1,122 feet, or about three city blocks.
The Commissioners had no means of obtaining the amount of transfer from one station to the other, but believe it cannot be very large, as the total amount of local tickets sold at this station on the C., B. & Q. R'y is for January, $434.88; February, $418.89; March, $487.62; April, $443.19. On the W.. St. L. & P., January, $450.95; February, $388.30; March, $346.70; April, $390 50. The total sales of local tickets at this station on the C., B. & Q. amounting to but $14.75 per day during the first four months of the year, and on the W., St. L. & P. $13.03 per day. Taking into consideration that the original outlay for station facilities on both these roads was liberal, consider
ing the amount of business done, the convenience of access and the short distance from one station to the other, the small passenger earnings from the total local trafic, the location of the crossing not at all favorable, being at the foot of a heavy grade on one road, and very considerable curvature on both, and at the crossing of a main traveled highway, the necessity for a station does not seem to be proven.
Under the circumstances the Commissioners do not feel themselves authorized, in the exercise of a reasonable discretion, to order a joint station at the crossing of the two roads.
Des Moines, June 21, 1884.
J. L. COLE & SON, GREENE, IOWA,
BURLINGTON, CEDAR RAPIDS & NORTHERN RAILWAY Co. j
Filed March 25, 1884.
The complainants, under date of March 19, 1884, addressed a letter to the Commissioners, stating that they had at the depot of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railway Company, at Greene, 1,350 pounds of wall paper, second class freight, shipped from Chicago via the Chicago & Northwestern Railway, on which the charges were prepaid to Cedar Rapids. The freight rate from Cedar Rapids to Greene was thirty-six cents for second class, and complainants stated that the company demanded fifty-three cents; refused to take any less, and were holding the goods for non-payment of the freight. On receipt of the complaint, the Commissioners advised Messrs. Cole that their case was similar to that of J. B. Dennis, in which a general order was made as follows: "It is hereby ordered that the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railway Company shall not in any case charge shippers more than the established local rate for shipments made from Cedar Rapids or other points within the State to points on the line of its railway within the State of Iowa."
They further stated to complainants that they had been notified by the company that it would obey the order, and that his claim for overcharge would probably be allowed on presentment.
April 7th, another letter was received from complainants stating that they had been overcharged on another shipment of goods by the B., C. R. & N. R'y, and inclosing freight bills of that road. As this proved on examination to have been a through shipment from Chicago to Greene, the Commissioners decided that it would be governed by their ruling in the case of Nye & Bourne, Grundy Center, Iowa, vs. B., C. R. & N. R'y Co., reported in their report of 1883, on page 733 et seq., wherein they held that the parties had no cause of complaint, it being their opinion that "the C. & N. W. R'y, in
allowing the B., C. R. & N. R'y a large percentage of the through freight from Chicago to Grundy Center, so long as the freight is no higher to the shipper, is pursuing a policy that is correct both in theory and practice, and will be sustained by all railway experience."
"BINGHAM ALLIANCE," BINGHAM, Iowa,
Discrimination and overcharge.
WABASH, ST. LOUIS & PACIFIC RAILWAY COMPANY.
Filed April 1, 1884.
Espey Bute, Secretary of the "Farmers' Alliance," at Bingham, Iowa, makes complaint against the Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railway Company, alleging discrimination in freight charges on the part of that road in favor of parties who ship their grain through elevators, and against those loading cars direct from wagons.
In proof of his assertions, Mr. Bute incloses a freight receipt showing that O. S. Shults, as agent for the “Farmers' Alliance," was charged thirty cents per hundred on bulk corn from Bingham to Chicago; said corn having been loaded from the wagon, while the regular rate given to elevator shippers was twenty-eight cents.
Mr. Geo. W. Lilley, Freight Traffic Manager of the railway company, in reply to this complaint, says that it has been a rule of his company to charge a higher rate on grain loaded from wagons than on that loaded from elevators, as the former invariably causes a serious delay to their cars and a consequent loss to the company. Mr. Lilley further says: During our busy season we are frequently crowded for cars, and very often cannot secure enough for current business. In this case the 'Alliance' was advised of the difference in rates by our agent. I find that car 12339 was set on side-track for them September 28th, and was not ready to go forward until October 1st, as evidenced by their bill of lading. No such delay would have occurred if loaded from elevator; and we trust you will agree with us that the charge we made was not, under the circumstances, an unreasonable one. We have always felt that it was to the interest of the farmers as well as the company to encourage the building of elevators on our line, as it affords the farmer facilities for disposing of his products to much better advantage, since he could be assured of finding a market for his grain at all times in small or large quantities, thus enabling him to dispose of it when he could best spare the time to haul it, or to feel certain that when called to town by business. or pleasure, he could sell any grain he might take with him.
'It benefits the company by reason of accumulating a stock on track that
can be forwarded during the season of wet weather and bad roads, which would practically prevent the farmers from making deliveries, thereby insuring a distribution of our business; and not as otherwise would be the case, compelling us to keep on hand for use during the busy season a supply of cars larger than we need have if the business could be somewhat distributed."
In reply to this statement of the case, the Commissioners called attention to a former complaint, reported in their fourth annual report (Township Trustees of Red Oak vs. C., B. & Q. R. R., page 551), the following being an expression of their views in that instance: "There is no good reason why a farmer or merchant should not get the same rate as the elevator man gets, provided he loads in substantially the same time." There is no question but that if the cars are used as a warehouse, the railway company is entitled to pay for the time they are held for that purpose beyond a reasonable time for loading, and this time the Commissioners think should be regulated by the time ordinarily consumed by the elevator men, after cars are delivered to them, and this view seems to be generally adopted in the State. This particular case was pressed upon the attention of the Board by a party who is more largely interested in grain elevators than any other in Southern Iowa, and who says that as a practical question it does no harm to the elevator men, while an extra charge of two cents per hundrel gives the impression that elevator shippers are benefited thereby, and creates ill-feeling toward them, which affects their business injuriously. The rulings of the courts seemed to the Commissioners to be in accord with this opinion. If cars were detained by shippers longer than the time usually required by elevator men, the company is certainly entitled to a compensation for such delay, but the charge should not be made for the hundred pounds of lading. It should be in the form .f demurrage, say the number of days, at the usual rate per day. In other words, if the elevator usually receives cars and tenders the loads to the company for shipment the same day, all time that the car was detained longer should be charged for, if the business of the road called for its use.
Mr. Lilley was inclined to the belief that the plan above suggested by the Commissioners would cause greater hardship to the shipper than charging two cents per hundred higher rate. The usual charge for such detention, he said, was from three to five dollars per day-oftener the latter, which in this case would have entailed a heavier burden than the charge made. The Commissioners replied that if the basis suggested by them as the equitable one works a hardship to the shipper, it is one in which he has the remedy in his own hands.
If the use of the car at the time is worth from three to five dollars per day, and the shipper, for the purpose of making it a storehouse, detains the car any number of days longer than the man who ships through the elevator, there is no good reason why he should not pay for its use. It seemed to them that this rule, established, rigidly adhered to, and thoroughly posted, so that all parties in future dealing in transportation might be advised,