Station: Williams, MI (Kalamazoo County)

Williams was located on the Michigan Central's South Haven Division, about two miles west of Alamo in Kalamazoo County.


Before The MICHIGAN PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION

At a session of the Michigan Public Utilities Commission held at its offices in the City of Lansing on the 21st day of January, A. D. 1920.

In the above entitled cause, the testimony was taken on the same date and was largely given by the same parties. . The discontinuance at Williams and Clarendon was actively opposed, but there were no appearances in the case of Corey.

The testimony given was similar in each case, and briefly showed that the falling off of business at these stations had caused them to cease to be profitable. A little further investigation on the part of the Commission developed the fact that the recent increases in the wages of station agents, which were made by the United States Railroad Ad ministration, has contributed somewhat to this situation and has had a great deal to do with the agencies becoming unprofitable.

The Commission is quite awake to the fact that the situation of the railroads is not at all good, and we believe that we should view the final disposition of these matters from the standpoint of the greatest good for all of the shippers of this State. We believe that if railroads are compelled to continue operations where the same has ceased to be profitable, and in many instances where the same has become a source of continuing expense, the final result will be to the disadvantage of the general public of the State. On the other hand, we realize that the railroad is a public servant and commercially should furnish service for the building up and advancement of communities which have not as yet reached the point where they are commercially self-supporting.

We do not take the position that a railroad should only furnish service when it becomes commercially profitable for it so to do. The testimony adduced in this cause proves, beyond a doubt, that the further con tinuance of these stations as full agency stations will be unprofitable, and will further be a burden. We are also of the opinion that the peo ple tributary to these stations are entitled to receive all of the service that the Railroad Company can give them without material loss to itself. The Railroad Company, in each cause, dwelt emphatically upon the fact that a caretaker would be employed at each station and that for the billing of freight no inconvenience would result as the shipper could by telephone arrange with adjoining stations for cars, bills of lading, and other formalities necessary in this sort of commerce. We are mind ful that the cost of a telephone will be considerably smaller than the employment of a station agent.

Considerable testimony was introduced as to the unloading of ship ments of milk and cream, and the objectors raised the question that the shipments of milk and cream at stations where no agent was employed, are not efficiently handled by the employees of the Railroad Company. If the Company desires to remove the station agents at these places, its duty to cause its employees on the trains to have a high degree of eſticiency, goes without question. -

The Commission believes that the stations of Williams, Clarendon and Corey should become “prepay” stations; that the IRailroad Company should insure telephonic communication from these stations to adjoin ing stations where shipping facilities and agencies are maintained; and that the railroads should cause such regulations to be made as will in sure prompt loading of dairy products without the necessity of the ship per being present at the time the train arrives at the station, and should also insure the prompt return of empty containers. An order to this effect will be prepared.

MICHIGAN PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION