FOURCHE RIVER VALLEY & INDIAN TERRITORY RAILWAY. The Fourche River Valley & Indian Territory Railway Company and the Fourche River Lumber Company are identical in interest. The mill is at a company town known as Graytown, less than a mile from the line of the Rock Island, and was erected in 1903. Before the machinery was installed a track was built from a point on the Rock Island then known as Esau, but now in the town of Bigelow. When the mill was opened this track was extended south and west for the purpose of reaching the timber, and in August, 1905, when the railroad corporation was formed, was about 9 miles in length. There is some obscurity in the record, but apparently the track was operated previous to 1905 in the name of the Arkansas River & Southern Railway, which purported to be a common carrier. When the Fourche River Valley & Indian Territory was incorporated, capital stock to the amount of $220,000 was issued in exchange for the equipment and tracks then laid and in operation. Subsequently an additional 6 miles was constructed at an expense of about $80,000, and bonds were issued to the lumber company therefore in the sum of $100,000. The tap line, as described of record, is standard gauge, laid with 56-pound steel and having substantial bridges. It extends from Bigelow, a town on the Rock Island, to Bellevue, a distance of 15 miles, with about 2 miles of side track. At a switch known as Wye, about 9 miles from Bigelow, unincorporated logging tracks connect with the tap line and reach out into the woods. The tap line has 1 locomotive, 1 combination passenger and baggage car, 1 tank car, and 61 freight and logging cars. The lumber company itself owns two locomotives, which it operates on the logging tracks. The tap line has a two-story building at Graytown, used as a station and office, with small sheds and a loading platform at one or two other points. It apparently uses the Rock Island station at Bigelow, and it weighs carload shipments on the lumber company's track scale at Graytown.
The logs are loaded by the employees of the lumber company on the unincorporated tracks and are taken by the tap line from Wye to the mill; a charge of 2 cents per 100 pounds is made for this service. The manufactured product is subsequently moved by the tap
line from the mill to the Rock Island, less than a mile away. The Rock Island allows out of the joint rates, which are the same from the mill at Graytown as from the junction, a division of from 2 to 3 cents per 100 pounds.
The tap line operates two logging trains daily in each direction with a coach, but its passenger revenues for the fiscal year 1910 were only $1,100. Its principal tonnage is forest products, amounting for the year 1910 to 142,359 tons, of which 31,176 tons was lumber. It moved during the same period 3,825 tons of miscellaneous freight, including nearly 2,000 tons of coal. The record indicates that 6,082 tons of freight moving outbound and 448 tons moving inbound were furnished by others than the proprietary company, or an aggregate of about 5 per cent of its traffic. It does not participate in through rates on articles other than forest products, and its local charges on merchandise are not filed with the Commission. The joint rates on lumber, staves, etc., from points west of the mill at Graytown are 1 cent per 100 pounds higher than the rates from the mill; and the allowance made to the tap line on movements from west of Gray-town are increased by that amount. There are said to be two or three small mills in the vicinity that team their lumber to the tap line. The Neimeyer Lumber Company has extensive timber holdings in the vicinity of the Fourche River Valley tap line, but it has a tap line of its own, known as the Little Rock, Maumelle & Western, reaching that timber. An effort is being made to colonize the cut-over lands and new settlers are coming in. It is hoped that it will develop into a farming country.
The operations of the tap line have been unusually profitable, and it has paid dividends aggregating more than $100,000. The assets on June 30, 1910, amounted to $341,000, including a surplus of $17,000 remaining after the payment during that year of a 16 per cent dividend amounting to $35,200.
On August 9, 1904, a contract was entered into by the Rock Island lines with the Arkansas River & Southern Railroad, and this has been assigned to the Fourche River Valley & Indian Territory. It provides for the payment of divisions to the tap line, and requires that not less than 50 per cent of its traffic shall be given to the Rock Island.
In this case the Rock Island may lawfully allow the tap line a switching charge of $1.50 for moving the products of the controlling mill at Graytown to the junction point, a distance of nearly 1 mile.