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U.S. Supreme Court

St. Louis Southwestern Ry. Co. v. United States, 245 U.S. 136 (1917)

St. Louis Southwestern Railway Company v. United States

No. 199

Argued October 12, 15, 1917

Decided November 12, 1917

245 U.S. 136


Meanings and relations of the terms "through route," "through rate," "joint rate," "sum of the locals," "division of joint rate," "rate-breaking point" and "combination rate" explained and defined.

Railroad companies, which, though chartered by different states, are all operating interstate railroads and otherwise engaged in interstate commerce, and which have established a through route between interstate points with a through rate consisting of the sum of the local rates, or of a combination of a local rate with a joint rate to an intermediate point, are not deprived of their rights under the Fifth Amendment when required, by an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission, to substitute a joint through rate (of reasonable amount) for the through rate thus existing, and to maintain the same through route or, at their election, substitute a modification of it which the Commission has found preferable.

Such an order is within the power conferred upon the Commission by the Act to Regulate Commerce, as amended.

The Commission's order, establishing through routes and a joint rate on logs and lumber from the "blanket territory" of Arkansas to Paducah, Kentucky, which permitted complaining carriers to maintain their route via Cairo, Illinois, or to substitute a route via Memphis, Tennessee, which the Commission found to be the more natural one, the joint rate fixed by the Commission to be the same in either case, is consistent with that provision of § 15 of the Act to Regulate Commerce forbidding the Commission to embrace in a through route "less than the entire length" of a railroad "unless to do so would make such through route unreasonably long."

The power of Congress and of the Commission to prevent interstate carriers from discriminating against a particular locality applies to carriers the lines of which do not reach the locality, but which bill through traffic to it over connecting lines. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 245 U. S. 137

An order of the Commission requiring carriers to reduce existing through rates by establishing joint rates, or, in the alternative, new through routes with joint rates, rests on § 15 of the Act to Regulate Commerce. It is not to be regarded as primarily an order to remove discrimination in violation of § 3, even though discrimination in rates as between two localities may have furnished the occasion for the complaint upon which the Commission acted and may have afforded reason for the rate fixed by its order.

234 F.6d 8 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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