CHICAGO, R.I. & P. RY. CO. V. DENVER & R.G. R. CO., 143 U. S. 596 (1892)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Chicago, R.I. & P. Ry. Co. v. Denver & R.G. R. Co., 143 U.S. 596 (1892)

Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Company v.

Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Company

Nos. 1095, 1109

Submitted January 7, 1892

Decided March 7, 1892

143 U.S. 596




In the interpretation of any particular clause of a contract, the court is required to examine the entire contract, and may also consider the relations of the parties, their connection with the subject matter of the contract, and the circumstances under which it was made.

The Chicago, Rock Island and Colorado Railway Company contracted with the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Company for the use by the former of the tracks, stations, sidings, switches, etc. of the latter company between Colorado Springs and Denver, except its shops at Burnham, and also for its terminal facilities at Denver, and, having so contracted, made its connections and entered on the enjoyment of its rights under the contract. Shortly afterwards, the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Company was organized and acquired the property and rights of the Chicago, Rock Island, and Colorado Railway and entered into the enjoyment of them, and its rights were recognized by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Company. The Rock Island and Pacific Company then acquired a right to connect with the Union Pacific Railroad chanrobles.com-red

Page 143 U. S. 597

Company at Limon, and to run its eastern trains over the tracks of the latter company to Denver, which it did. The distance from Limon to Denver by this route was sixty-four miles less than by the way of Colorado Springs and the Denver and Rio Grande road. Although it had diverted its Denver traffic, it continued to use the Rio Grande road for its Pueblo traffic, and it claimed the use of the terminal facilities of that road at Denver for all, and also the use of some land at Burnham not actually used for shops. It also claimed the right under the contract to put in its own switching forces and cleaning gangs. The Denver and Rio Grande Company then gave notice that it would exclude from the Denver terminals all business coming over the Union Pacific tracks. Thereupon the Rock Island Company filed a bill in equity and obtained a restraining order. By amendments and supplemental bills, there were brought into the controversy other matters of difference between the two companies, and a final decree was made settling their rights under the contract as follows: (1) that the new Rock Island Company was the successor of the old, and had the right under the contract to operate its trains over the Rio Grande Company's line; (2) that it had not the right, under the contract, to bring its trains to the Denver terminals over the Union Pacific; (3) that it had the right to employ separate switching crews and separate employs to perform other services in the yards of the Rio Grande Company under the control and subject to the direction of the agent of that company; (4) that the words "shops at Burnham" in the contract included all lands used or procured for shop purposes and appurtenant to the shops located at Burnham; (5) that a track should be set apart at Denver on which the Kansas Pacific Company might clean its cars; (6) that each party should pay one-half of all costs. On appeal this Court,


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