Saturday, August 23, 2008

Last Act of the Waterville Railway?

This story is about how the flood of 1948 affected the Waterville Railway. This information was derived from the minutes of the Waterville Railway books, and was written up by Scott B. Tidd.

Referring to the minutes on May 31, 1949, Pres George Wilcox brought the meeting to order. Sec. at the time was Hugh S. Godlove. There was a statement by L. M. Smith regarding aid from the Great Northern Railway, asking for help in rebuilding Wtrvl. Ry. This was looked into, and unfortunately G.N. Ry. would not provide the financial aid needed. Nels Hagerstom estimated that it would cost $35,000 to rebuild the Wtrvl. Ry. Chief Engineer Seaton, however, said it would cost $200,000. Seaton was a representative for G.N.Ry. Hagerstrom’s estimation was assumed wrong.

Now, going on successive minutes, questions were brought forward asking how the Wtrvl. Ry. would get the wheat from Waterville to Douglas. So the Board thought it would work out if they shipped by truck. Because of the damage done by the flood, the income tax report showed a net loss of $31,879.01. This was the income tax report from the year 1948. The Board then, because of the financial problems, decided to sell the Waterville Transfer. The sale of the Transfer resulted in a net profit of $10,343.60.

Representative A.J. Hensel received an order from the Interstate Commerce Commission. This order authorized the operation of commercial trucking from Waterville to Douglas. the Board decided to ship by truck at the explanation of the order received by Hensel. There were questions asked on building an elevator leg at Douglas. There was also a bid asked from a local dealer on buying a truck for hauling. The Board also decided to sell the diesel electric engine that had been used and all the iron used as rails. There were bids asked on building the elevator leg. They got the bid and the elevator leg would be built at Douglas. The Waterville Ry. did progress; it bought a truck and the financial report shoed a net profit of $2036.35. This was for the year 1950. The Board also decided to buy savings bonds. Then, I assume, when business was really rolling, the minutes asked for a larger truck for hauling, and for making a shed and pouring concrete on the Douglas elevator leg.

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