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Stratford centennial
(1891-1991)

Stratford beginning,   pp. 21-36


Page 34

Marathon County Railway on Drexler farm. Courtesy of Pat Zuelke
S.W. 1/4 Section 20, Township 27 North, Range 5 East and
running thence in an easterly direction through Sections 20,
21, 22, 23, 24 and 13 in Township 27, North of Range 5 East
and through Sections 18, 17 and 21 in Township 27 North,
Range 6 East and to terminate near the center of section 21.
The expansion was expected to be operational by January 1,
1912.
A minor law suit was filed in 1907 against the Marathon
County Railroad. The suit was filed by a merchant in Halder
who wished to ship merchandise on the Railroad line but felt
that the fees charged per carload were excessive, alleged that
their depots were inadequate and that no schedule was posted.
The Railroad charged $5.00 per carload of logs or similar
lumber products shipped less than eight miles and $7.00 per
carload shipped more than eight miles but did not charge for
partial carloads.
The Marathon County Railway Company defended the
suit by stating that the bulk of the business done by the railroad
consisted of hauling carloads of logs and their rates were
lower than those charged by the C. & N. W. Ry. They further
stated that the caboose was used to carry the passenger
business, for which no charge is made and passengers were
discharged at any point along the line. They stated that they
kept a small depot at Camp 4, approximately three miles from
Halder. The depot was kept locked and the key was available
from the conductor on the train or from a nearby farmer. The
small amount of business done at the depot did not make it
economically sound to keep a station master at that station. As
for the scheduling of the trains, as most of the business was
related to logging, it would be impossible to set a regular
schedule.
The findings of the Railroad Commissioners, in July of
1907, found that the rate was excessive and set the new rate at
$3.50 and $4.50 respectively. As a result of the suit, the
Marathon County Railway Company was forbidden to give
"free rides" to passengers and ordered to set a fee for passen-
ger service. The fee was set at two cents per mile. They were
allowed to carry doctors and other persons in emergency cases
as a work of humanity.
They were ordered to work out an arrangement with the C.
& N. W. Ry. for use of their depot in Stratford but the
commission found that the depot at Camp 4 was adequate for
the amount of business it garnered and that it was "more useful
to the citizens" to be allowed to get on and off the train at any
point along the line, than to have a manned passenger depot.
The scheduling issue was resolved by ordering the railroad
to establish a schedule for one day each week for passenger
service.
In November of 1907, The Marathon County Railway
Company submitted evidence that from Sept. 17, 1907 and up
to and including the trip on Oct. 22, 1907, the entire revenue
derived from the passenger service in operation of this train
amounted to $1.10, charging all passengers at the rate of two
cents per mile. The cost to the company, in wages to the train
crew and coal alone, for operating the train, amounts to $4.00
for each trip. Upon reviewing the evidence, the Railroad
Commissioners withdrew the order to operate the passenger
service one day each week.
In 1920, the Central Wisconsin Traffic Association filed a
petition against the Marathon County Railway Company
because the Company was no longer furnishing railroad
service along the Halder line. The Commission ordered the
company to furnish bi-weekly trips from May I to December
1 and one trip a week during the remainder of the year. The
order was modified in 1924 to exempt the portion of the line
between Stratford and Halder lying between Halder and the
Hughes School House Landing located at the point of inter-
section between the east and west highway extending east
from Stratford, and that service on the remainder of the line
may be omitted during such portion of the winter as the
railway line is snowbound.
On May 7,1928, The Marathon County Railway Company
filed an application to discontinue operation of their railroad.
The testimony showed that the R. Connor Company, which
has conducted logging operations in this territory, has discon-
tinued operations and there would be no further business for


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