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CHERAw AND DARLINGTON AND CHERAW AND SALISBURY RAILROADS, Society HILL, S.C., April 3d, 1883.
Hon. M. L. Bonham, Chairman Railroad Commission, &c.
DEAR SIR: Your last letter of 29th ultimo came Saturday, and in reply I trust you will allow me respectfully to reiterate the truthfulness of my former representations in every particular.
That correspondence was promptly submitted to Captain Divine, General Superintendent, with request that it would be shown to Colonel Bridges, General Manager, and to Mr. Emerson, General Freight Agent at Wilmington. Up to this time I have heard nothing from them on the subject. Of course you will recognize the propriety of my consulting with other officers associated with me in the management of the Cheraw and Darlington Road as to improvements of the kind in question. involving a considerable expenditure of money and due deliberation as to suitable plans for the proposed improvement.
Col. B. D. Townsend, President C. & D. R. R., Society Hill, S. C.
DEAR SIR: Yours of the 3d instant came duly to hand, an were disappointed that our query as to the erection of buildings a Darlington depot remained unanswered. Colonel Bridgers, however, called on us yesterday and mentione he had advised you to go ahead with the work. Will you please let us know whether you intend to ado, suggestion ? Yours very respectfully, M. L, BONHA Chairman Board Railroad Commissi
when Colonel Bridges told us that he had advised you to go ahead with the work, we asked whether we could rely on the improvements being made at once, and he replied, in substance: I cannot undertake to speak for Colonel Townsend. Yours, very respectfully, M. L. BONHAM, Chairman Board Railroad Commissioners.
M. L. Box HAM, Chairman,
M. T. BARTLETT, Secretary. OFFICE OF RAILROAD CoMMISSIONERs, CoLUMBIA, S. C., April 1883. Messrs. J. GREgg McCALL, Intendant, J. J. WARD, John A. Boyd and A. S. WHITE, Wardens of Darlington, S. C. GENTLEMEN: Referring to our letter of the 22d ultimo, we beg to enclose herewith a copy of correspondence with Colonel B. D. Townsend, from which you will see that he expects to commence at an early date the improvements required at your station. As to the discrimination in freight rates to which you allude, we beg leave to say, that at this juncture we deem it advisable not to interfere, as our freight tariff, on which we are at work, when completed, will, we trust, remove the cause of complaint. You will perceive that we have called Colonel Townsend's attention to other points in the decision, and we hope that the business at Darlington depot may in future be conducted to the satisfaction of all concerned. Yours very respectfully, M. L. BONHAM, Chairman Board Railroad Commissioners.
Town Council of Blackville vs. The South Carolina Railway Company.
In regard to this case, a majority of the Board dissenting from the decision of their predecessor made last year, it was determined on July 24th to ask the opinion of the Attorney General on the questions involved, and on receipt of his reply (which with Commissioner Bonham's minority report will be found below) the Board adopted the opinion of the Attorney General as their opionion and notified the Intendant of the town of Blackville thereof:
OFFICE of THE ATToRNEY GENERAL, CHARLEston, S.C., Sept. 14, 1883. Hon. M. L. Bon HAM, L. J. WALKER, D. P. DUNCAN, Railroad Commissioners. GENTLEMEN: I have received your communication, enclosing me the correspondence between your Board and the General Manager and the Solicitor of the South Carolina, Railway Company, in relation to the “Complaint of the Town Council of Blackville against the South Carolina Railway,” together with the following Resolution adopted by you:
“In view of the importance of the question involved as to the extent to which the South Carolina Railway Company may erect buildings and tracks on its right of way; and as a majority of the Board is uncertain . as to whether this complaint comes within the jurisdiction of the Commission for remedy, or whether the corporation complaining should seek redress from the Courts of the State; be it
“Resolved, That the matter be referred to the Attorney General for his opinion.”
“The complaint of the Town Council of Blackville against the South Carolina Railway Company” is reported upon by Hon. M. L. Bonham, Railroad Commissioner, in his Report of November, 1882–Reports and Resolutions of 1882, p. 1110. The complaint is that certain structures of the South Carolina Railway Company (buildings and tracks or sidings) within the corporate limits of the town of Blackville obstruct and interfere with the use of a public highway or street of said town. The South Carolina Railway Company claims that the structures complained of are erected upon the right of way owned by the said company, and denies or does “not concede that the town of Blackville has the right to a use in that right of way as a public street.” The company also insists that it cannot erect suitable depots and platforms sufficient to accommodate the growing business of that station without using for that purpose so much of its right of way as is now used for that purpose; that the company must either retain its present location for depots and platforms or remove them outside of the corporate limits of the town; and that it will best promote the convenience and accommodation of the public to retain its present location. The questions involved are:
1st. Whether the structures of the South Carolina Railway Company complained of are, or are not, located upon the right of way owned by the said company 7
2d. Whether the town of Blackville has the right to the use of said right of way as a public highway or street?
3d. Whether, if the structures complained of are located upon the right of way of the railway company, and the town of Blackville has the right to use said right of way as a highway or street, the railway company can be required to remove the said structures?
4th. Whether the Railroad Commissioners have the right and authority to determine these questions, and the power to enforce their decision ?
The Railroad Commissioners are charged with the general supervision of all railroads in the State, and it is their duty “to examine the same and keep themselves informed as to their condition and the manner in which they are operated with reference to the security and accommodation of the public, and the compliance of the several corporations with the provisions of their charters and the laws of the State.”—General Statutes of 1882, Sec. 1455.
Section 1457 provides, that “whenever, in the judgment of the Rail. road Commissioners, it shall appear that repairs are necessary upon any such railroad, or that any addition to the rolling stock, or any enlargement of, or improvement in, the stations or station houses, or any modification in the rates of fare for transporting freight or passengers, or any change in the mode of operating the road and conducting its business is reasonable and expedient in order to promote the security, convenience and accommodation of the public, they shall give information in writing to the corporation of the improvements and changes which they adjudge to be proper; and if the said company shall fail, within sixty days, to adopt the suggestions of the Commissioners, they shall take such legal proceedings as they may deem expedient, and shall have authority to call upon the Attorney General to institute and conduct such proceedings.”
Section 1458 provides, that “upon the complaint and application of the Mayor and Aldermen or Council of any city, town, or Board of County Commissioners of any County, within any part of which such railroad is located, it shall be the duty of the Railroad Commissioners to make an examination of the condition and operation thereof. Before proceeding to make such examination in accordance with such application, the Commissioners shall give to the applicants and to the railroad corporation reasonable notice in writing of the time and place of entry upon the same. If, upon such examination, it shall appear to the Commissioners that the complaint alleged by the applicant is well founded, they shall so adjudge, and shall inform the corporation operating such railroad of their adjudication in the same manner as is provided in Section 1456; and the company failing for sixty days after such notice to remove the cause of such complaint, they shall make report thereof to the General Assembly for such action as it may deem expedient; or if