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U.S. Supreme Court

Transit Commission v. United States, 284 U.S. 360 (1932)

Transit Commission v. United States

No. 498

Argued November 24, 25, 1931

Decided January 4, 1932

284 U.S. 360


1. In ascertaining the public convenience and necessity with respect to the abandonment of a branch line by a railroad company engaged in intrastate and interstate commerce, the Interstate Commerce Commission must weigh the benefit to accrue to interstate commerce against the injury to intrastate commerce. P. 284 U. S. 367.

2. Where the state has ordered the removal of grade crossings on a branch line which the company seeks to abandon, the Commission may properly take into consideration the magnitude of the required outlay as compared with the value of the branch, and the resulting effect on the company's revenue. P. 284 U. S. 368. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 284 U. S. 361

3. Under § 1(18) of the Interstate Commerce Act, as amended by the Transportation Act, 1920, the Commission has power to authorize he abandonment of an unprofitable branch line by a railroad company engaged in interstate commerce, although its lines lie wholly within the its state of incorporation, and although the bulk of its traffic is intrastate and its business as a whole is prosperous, upon finding that continued operation of the branch would result in a serious and increasing depletion of revenue due to competition by municipal rapid transit lines and their probable extension, which would entail an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce, and that the losses would be aggravated by expenditures for the removal of grade crossings as required by the state commission. The exercise of such power is not an unconstitutional invasion of the state's sovereignty. P. 284 U. S. 368.

4. Evidence examined and held to support an order of the Commission authorizing the abandonment of a branch line. Pp. 284 U. S. 369-370.


Appeal from a decree of the district court of three judges denying a preliminary injunction and dismissing the bills in suits against the United States and the railroad company to enjoin the latter from abandoning a branch line and to set aside an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission permitting the abandonment. The suits were brought by the Transit Commission and its members and by the New York. They were consolidated. The Commission and the Company intervened. See 162 I.C.C. 363; 166 id. 371; 175 id. 163. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 284 U. S. 364

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