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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Great Northern Ry. Co., 343 U.S. 562 (1952)

United States v. Great Northern Railway Co.

No. 151

Argued January 8-9, 1952

Decided June 2, 1952

343 U.S. 562


Under § 15(3) and (6) of the Interstate Commerce Act, the Interstate Commerce Commission ordered the establishment of joint rates by certain carriers, in lieu of combination rates over through routes which were already in existence, and ordered a division of revenues between the carriers for the purpose of providing additional revenue for a financially weak participating carrier.

Held: the District Court erred in enjoining the Commission's order as prohibited by § 15(4). Pp. 343 U. S. 563-578.

1. The Commission's order did not establish any through route, but did establish joint rates for the admitted purpose of assisting the particular carrier to meet its financial needs. Pp. 343 U. S. 569-570.

2. The prohibition of § 15(4) against establishing through routes for the purpose of assisting a carrier to meet its financial needs is not limited to cases where short-hauling is a problem. Pp. 343 U. S. 570-572.

3. The financial needs prohibition of § 15(4) does not limit the Commission's power to establish joint rates generally, but deals only with the power to establish a "through route and joint rates applicable thereto," i.e., those joint rates applicable to a through route established by the Commission. Since the Commission did not establish the through routes, the prohibition of § 15(4) is inapplicable. Pp. 343 U. S. 572-577.

4. The Commission is empowered, in the public interest, to cause a redistribution of revenue between two carriers participating in transportation of through traffic, and may in that connection consider a branch line's value in producing profitable traffic for a railroad. P. 343 U. S. 577.

5. Since the Commission's order in this case (which also denied the particular carrier's application to abandon its line) was attacked also for want of essential findings and for lack of substantial evidence justifying continued operation of the line, and since it is the practice of this Court not to review an administrative record chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 343 U. S. 563

in the first instance after finding that a lower court has applied an incorrect principle of law, the case is remanded to the District Court for further proceedings. Pp. 343 U. S. 577-578.

96 F.Supp. 298 reversed.

In a suit to enjoin enforcement of an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission, 275 I.C.C. 512, a three-judge District Court granted the relief prayed. 96 F.Supp. 298. On direct appeal to this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1253, reversed and remanded, p. 343 U. S. 578.

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