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U.S. Supreme Court

Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Co. v. United States, 284 U.S. 288 (1932)

Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Co. v. United States

No. 88

Argued December 7, 1931

Decided January 4, 1932

284 U.S. 288


1. Acting under § 5(2) of the Interstate Commerce Act, the Commission granted to petitioner carriers permission to lease a line connecting with their system, but, in order to preserve existing and possible through routes via the leased line on other railroads, it granted the permission upon the conditions: that the lessor be maintained as a separate organization and its line constitute a separate operating unit; that existing routes of traffic, gateways of interchange, and neutrality in handling traffic be continued, so as to preserve equal service, routing, and movement of competitive traffic to and from all connecting lines reached by the leased line; that the lessees permit carriers then connecting with the leased line, or which might thereafter connect with it, to participate, without discrimination, in through routes and joint rates on traffic moving over it as an intermediate road between regions designated in the order, and that, to this end, the leased line should be maintained as an open route equally available to all carriers connecting with it.


(1) That the conditions applied in favor of a railroad whose line was extended, several years after the order was made, to the line of another carrier by which it was linked to the leased line. P. 284 U. S. 293.

(2) That tariff provisions by which the lessee companies established exclusive through routes over the leased line violated the chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 284 U. S. 289

conditions, and that an order for their cancellation made by the Commission under § 15(7) was valid. P. 284 U. S. 293 et seq.

2. The term "connecting lines" is not limited in meaning to railroads having direct connection, but is commonly used as referring to all of the lines making up a through route. P. 284 U. S. 293.

3. The limitation imposed by § 15(4) of the Interstate Commerce Act, prohibiting the Commission from requiring a carrier to establish, "without its consent," any through route which does not embrace substantially the entire length of its line between the termini of the route proposed is designed to protect the existing long haul routes of carriers, and applies only when the Commission is exercising the power conferred by paragraph 15(3). It is not a limitation upon the power of the Commission to affix conditions when approving new combinations of carriers under § 5(2). P. 284 U. S. 294.

48 F.2d 239 affirmed.

Appeal from a decree of the District Court of three judges dismissing a bill to set aside an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission.

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