Team tracks that look like private sidings?

Tom Campbell

Hello STMFC List-

I've been chewing on a bit of research for some time and I'm coming
out of long time lurker status for guidance.

I've been studying Sacramento's `R' Street corridor for a few years
now. In the transition era, the `R' Street corridor was a
significant part of Sacramento's switching district and had both the
Southern Pacific and Western Pacific interchanging and serving
businesses here. There were even guest appearances by the Sacramento
Northern from time to time.

My research has been pretty tightly focused, but it has led me down
some interesting paths. Your definition of 'interesting' may vary

One of the `finds' is a 1936-1937 California Railroad Commission
(CRC) case that deals specifically with `R' Street. After reading
and rereading the testimony (and supplemental materials), the case
has taught me a great deal about reciprocal switching agreements
among other things. Mostly, that I completely misunderstood what a
reciprocal switching agreement was <g>.

CRC case 4066 dealt with a WP complaint that the SP refused to switch
cars from the interchange at 4th & `R' to two sidings on `R' Street
under a cheap switching tariff ($2.70 a car- which even in the `30s
wasn't enough to pay for the switch) as part of the reciprocal
switching agreement. SP defended itself by claiming these sidings
were team tracks and not private sidings and, as part of the
railroad's own terminal facilities, ineligible for the tariff. SP
contended they were team tracks because the railroad owned the tracks
and the sidings did see a variety of consignees pick up deliveries
there. WP wanted the definition of `private siding' or `team track'
to follow more from the track's actual usage and thought that at
least on one of the sidings its use was primarly as a private
delivery track.

The sidings were both adjacent (right up to the loading doors) to
businesses on `R'. On one of them, nearly all the shipments went to
the business next to the siding (Valley Wholesale Grocery), but SP
was able to prove that at least a few shipments were picked up by
other concerns. One of the exhibits in the case file is an 18 month
record of every car that was delivered to this track. Out of 170
cars, about four were for consignees other than Valley Wholesale.

The other siding was originally built circa 1910 as a private
delivery track for a storage company; however, this original business
later abandoned their siding. At that point the siding's ownership
fell back to SP, and it was designated as a public team track. There
was ample evidence that this second siding was used as a team track,
the adjacent business that moved in later only rarely taking delivery
from this track.

The commission decided that the WP did not prove either of the tracks
was `private' but they did not spell out what definition of `private'
or `team' tracks they used as a benchmark.

I've been broadening my research in an attempt to put this case in
context, but does the list think this `team track that looks like a
private siding' situation was common? From what I've seen, it seems
like it was.

Did the definition of `team track' later (at least by 1950, my
planned modeling date) get locked down legally so that use rather
than ownership was more of a determining factor for tariff
considerations? I do plan on tracking down the 1950 tariff to see if
a team track definition is spelled out in the tariff itself – it
certainly wasn't in 1936.

I'm curious to see if anyone knows of any similar cases elsewhere in
the country.

Thanks for any comments, and certainly suggestions for books and
other research materials/leads that will help me have a better
understanding of this.

Tom Campbell
Elk Grove CA

Join { to automatically receive all group messages.