A Great Northern Railway Hearing

The 1912 Question of a Depot For Kremlin?

The Great Northern Railway was petitioned by a group of Kremlin area residents in the spring of 1912 to build a depot at Kremlin. A hearing was held in Kremlin by the Railroad Commission of Montana regarding the request, which was in the form of a petition signed by 67 Kremlin area residents.

The matter was complicated by a second petition, signed by 33 Kremlin area residents, requesting that no action be yet taken in regards to the first petition.

And complicated still further by the puzzling fact that 18 signers of the second petition had also signed the first petition!?


KREMLIN, MONTANA, and Vicinity, Residents of,


IN THE MATTER OF Requiring a Depot Built and an Agency Established at Kremlin.
HEARING, April 4th, 1912.
DECIDED, April 20th, 1912.
Number 52.

By their petition filed February 3rd, 1912, Complainants allege that the business transacted with the railway company during the past year at Kremlin has averaged between $400.00 and $500.00 per month, which figure would be greatly augmented if an agent were stationed there. That the country tributary to Kremlin is fast settling up, and that the people are not being afforded "Reasonable Service."

Hearing at Kremlin, April 4th, 1912,
Complainants By Peter W. Bishop.
Defendants By I. Parker Veazey, Jr.; B. Lantry Asst. Supt.; J. S. Herman, Trav. Freight Agt.
Commissioners Morley and Boyle.

As stated, complaint was filed February 3rd, 1912, signed by P. W. Bishop,. "For the petitioners," of which there were sixty-seven,

and on March 30th, 1912, another petition was presented by E. C. Carruth, bearing thirty-three signatures, eighteen of which were also signers of the original, requesting that no action be taken for the present, "Realizing that the business at Kremlin will not justify the construction of a standard depot at this time."

It was apparent that there were two factions interested, but the Commission could not, of course, withdraw the original complaint upon the request of another; the hearing was accordingly held as docketed.

Kremlin is a station located on the main line of the Great Northern Railway in Hill County, the nearest agencies being Gildford 10.1 miles west, and Havre 19.5 miles east, making the distance between open stations 29.6 miles.

The testimony offered was vague. No figures were available to show the number of acres plowed or seeded for this season's crop. The Commission was unable to learn the number of settlers or families in the territory tributary to that station. These items were variously "estimated" by witnesses, but no testimony was given upon which a tangible deduction could be made.

In a general way it may be said that the district for which Kremlin would be the logical railroad point extends from a line running north and south half way between Kremlin and Gildford, and a similar line half way between Kremlin and Havre;

On the north the boundary is the Milk River, ten miles away, and on the south about the same distance, or half way to Box Elder.

North of the Milk river, which is an extensive agricultural section, would be tributary to Kremlin, if there were a bridge, but until there is some means is provided for crossing the river, the business must go to Havre.

The Commission was favorably impressed with the country surrounding Kremlin; there can be no question as to the productiveness of the soil, and in time there will be enough business to require the services of an agent; but, the testimony shows that most of the land was settled on in 1909 and 1910, no crops were raised in 1910, and practically nothing for shipment in 1911.

Petitioners' statement that the business transacted with the railway company averaged between four and five hundred dollars per month is correct, and the following tabulation shows the exact figures for year ending January 31st, 1912.

Montana Railroad Commission Report

It will be noted that about 90 per cent of total freight earnings was revenue from freight received, due to incoming settlers' effects, machinery, etc.;

that is, the community had nothing to ship out, the average earnings to the railway company on outgoing business being less than forty dollars per month.

There is no depot at Kremlin; there is a cinder platform for the convenience of passengers, and where freight is loaded and unloaded. This platform is directly in front of and distant from the section house about sixty feet.

The large front room of the section house is set apart for a "waiting room" and is kept warm and comfortable at all times. This affords substantially the same protection and convenience to passengers as would a depot, with the exception that tickets are not on sale;

and as for freight business, the preceding statement speaks for itself.

There is no doubt but the Kremlin territory will later be developed and become productive, but we are of the opinion that this petition was made at least a year too soon, and in equity, upon the showing made and taking into consideration all of the conditions herein set forth, must dismiss the complaint.

The Secretary is directed to serve upon the parties hereto a true and certified copy of this Report.

By R. F. McLaren, Secretary.
Helena, Montana, April 20th, 1912.

The Great Northern Railway Historical Society archives show an "Application For Expenditure" (AFE) file for Kremlin for 1913,   to:   "Construct passenger and freight depot, 30' x 48', with gravel and frame platform."     So Kremlin finally got its Depot!

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