Imágenes de páginas

Paul roads, as regards freight rates, and it does not seem possible that such could have been intended by the honorable legislature. Please reply by wire.



Commissioner Hoyt, in reply to Superintendent Swan.

Dispatch received. You are right. Under a literal construction of the law, all roads in the State are now subject to the same limitations upon their freight rates as are the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul, the Chicago & Northwestern and the Western Union railroads. And all roads other than these above-named, may charge four cents a mile, for carrying passengers.

The assistant attorney-general agrees with me in this construction.

W. G. SWAN, Esq.,

General Superintendent.





J. T. Comstock to the Commissioners.

OCONTO, WIS., March 20, 1875. GENTLEMEN.-When does the new law take effect? Under the Potter-law am I obliged to pre-pay freight for points on the St. Paul railroad, for instance Oconomowoc. They require me to pay here $29 in advance. Under the new law what will be the rate to Oconomowoc, Edgerton, and MacFarland?

Is the Chicago and Northwestern bound to give me cars when requested to do so?

Can I insist on flats, and must they give them to me?

If yes, then can they make me wait two months or ten weeks on plea of bad weather?

Can the Chicago & Northwestern refuse to let their cars go their road on to the St. Paul for points in this State?





Commisssoner Hoyt, in reply.


MADISON, WIS., March 29 1875.
* On account of the absence of

the Attorney-General, whose advice is needed on one or two points, we are unable to reply to all your inquiries at this moment, but will do so as soon as possible. The new law went into effect on the 11th instant. You cannot be legally required to pre-pay charges on freight unless the articles are perishable, or of but little value.

Distance from Oconto to Oconomowoc 152. 8 miles; legal charges $23. Distance to Edgerton 179.1; legal charges $25. Distance to McFarland, 219.9; legal charges $27.

A railroad company having cars at liberty is of course in duty bound to furnish them on demand. There is no specific provision of law relating to this subject, however.


During such a winter as we have had this year, it would of course very difficult to say just how far "the weather" may be plead as an excuse for not answering demands for cars.

As to passing of car-loads of freight from one road to another, you will find full information in section 19 of chapter 273, laws of 1874, as amended by the last legislature. Copy forwarded herewith. No company can refuse to allow its cars to so pass.

[blocks in formation]

DEAR SIR: Your favor of the 29th received. Please accept thanks for information, and advise me as soon as convenient on the points whether the railroad company must give me flat cars, and whether the Chicago & Northwestern are bound to let their cars run through to points on the Milwaukee & St. Paul, and much oblige.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Commissioner Hoyt to J. T. Comstock, in reply.

MADISON, April 6, 1875.

DEAR SIR: In answer to your letter of the 2d instant, I have to say, that I know of no statute under which you can compel a railroad company to provide rolling-stock of a definite kind or quality. Should they have cars which they could furnish if they would, and you should be able to prove that their excuses for not doing so were invalid, you could appeal to the common-law applicable to all common carriers.

I have consulted the Attorney-General, and the foregoing is his opinion as well as my own. Should your freight constitute a carload, they cannot refuse, when it is once loaded, to allow it to pass without unloading upon any railway which has track connections with their own. (See section 19, Potter-law, as amended; copy forwarded the other day.)

[blocks in formation]

GENTLEMEN :-Can you inform me if there has been a decision as to the legal rates for carrying lumber under the Potter-law where it passes over two roads?

I own lumber at Millston, on the West Wisconsin Railroad, a station about 28 or 30 miles, I think, from Camp Douglass, on the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, and it is about the same distance from Camp Douglass to Sparta. In October last, I directed ten or twelve car-loads to be shipped from Millston to Sparta, with the understanding from the freight-agent in Sparta that the roads would carry according to the law as construed by the Railroad Commissioners. One car came in advance of the rest, about October 10, when they demanded $26 per car of 5,000 feet pine lumber.

I refused to pay the $26 per car, and tendered the freight-agent $15, which he refused. He then unloaded the lumber, and said he should charge me $2 for unloading. The lumber still remains where it was then piled.

Now, has it been decided what the legal freight is between the points mentioned? I am not certain as to the exact distance on either road.

For two years I have been trying to negotiate with railroad companies to carry my lumber at some reasonableprice, but they will not "budge an inch." And this winter I have had it hauled by horseteams, at a saving of $2,50 per thousand feet. I am not able to litigate the matter with the railroads, but it is really quite a hardship for me to pay such prices as the railroad companies charge, or to do without my lumber in the summer-time. (The teams cannot haul in summer.) If you will be kind enough to give me any information by which I can be profited, you will greatly oblige,

Yours, truly,


Commissioner Hoyt in reply to G. B. Holden.


MADISON, March 12, 1875. DEAR SIR:-Yours of the 18th is received. I do not find "Millston" on either of our railroad maps, or on our table of distances, and hence can not now inform you of exact distance from that point to Sparta. It is manifest, however, that you have been overcharged.

The probability is that each company has charged without regard to the fact that rates are to be computed from the place where the lumber was received to the point of delivery, as though it passed over but one line.

We had trouble of this sort in several cases last year, on account of the lameness of the law, which made no provision for a division. of earnings, where freight passed over two or more lines. The amended law, though inconsistent with itself, and otherwise faulty, contains a provision designed to supply this deficiency. We shall print it very soon and send you a copy.

The belief is that you have an adequate remedy, and that the railroad companies will not attempt to evade the law, now that its language is explicit and unmistakable.

If they should, please acquaint us with the fact, and we will endeavor to have justice done you.


G. B. HOLDEN, Esq., Sparta.





Commissioner Hoyt to Mr. Pedrick, in reply.

MADISON, March 26, 1875.

DEAR SIR: Your favor of the 24th is at hand. In answer I have to say that, touching the matter of rates chargeable by companies operating "B" roads (to which class the West Wisconsin belongs,) the provisions of chapter 273, laws of 1874, as amended, are of such a character that the Commissioners do not now assume to decide whether the rates applicable to "A" roads, should be applied to the "B" roads also, or not.

As to the facilities to be afforded by railroad companies, there is less room for doubt, and yet it is questionable whether under the present law any railway company can be compelled to furnish cars of a particular kind in response to each and every demand made upon it. The law does require, however, that when freight passes from one road to another in car-loads, "such delivery shall be in the same cars, without unloading."

It is also clear that the several roads over which freight is required to pass shall be treated as one continuous line, and that "advanced payment of freights shall not be required, except in cases of perishable articles and freight of little value."

I will immediately call the attention of the West Wisconsin Company to these provisions of the law, in the hope that the violations of which you complain will not be repeated.

« AnteriorContinuar »