All States Freight, Inc. v. New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company

PETITIONER: All States Freight, Inc.
RESPONDENT: New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company
LOCATION: The Realtor Building, formerly McCrory’s Five and Ten Cent Store

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)

CITATION: 379 US 343 (1964)
ARGUED: Oct 21, 1964
DECIDED: Dec 14, 1964

Facts of the case


Media for All States Freight, Inc. v. New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 21, 1964 in All States Freight, Inc. v. New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company

Warren E. Burger:

Number 22, All States Freight, Incorporated, et al., Appellants, versus New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Company et al.

Mr. Carpenter, you may proceed with the argument.

Homer S. Carpenter:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

This case involves railroad rates for the transportation of property in Interstate Commerce.

The rates were published in the spring of 1959 and the case is now five-and-a-half years old.

The rates were first published by the New Haven Railroad but were promptly followed by the publication of equivalent rates for the New York Central, the Boston and Maine, the Maine Central, and the Central of Vermont.

Generally speaking, the rates applied from the principal cities of New England to Chicago, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri.

Certain Midwestern railroads which provided the connections for the New England lines to those cities also became parties to the rates.

Potter Stewart:

These were westbound only?

Homer S. Carpenter:

Yes sir, westbound only, Justice Stewart.

The reason that the new rates applied only to those two cities was by election of the New Haven itself.

Their purpose was to compete with a new plan of railroad service which was trailer-on-flatcar.

It was called Plan III and was instituted in New England by the New York Central in 1958.

The New York Central offered that service and its initial phase only to those two cities and the Plan III trailer-on-flatcar service was of a special nature.

It was provided that charges which were essentially flat charges in the sense that they were stated in aggregate sums of money to apply for the transportation not to exceed 70,000 pounds of freight and not to exceed two trailers.

There was a further restriction on those trailer-on-flatcar rates that -- or the trailer-on-flatcar charges that no one commodity in the total shipment could exceed 60% of the aggregate weight of the shipment.

The tariff also provided that the trailers had to be supplied by the shipper and that the shipper likewise had to supply his own bridge service between the commercial installation and the railroad terminal.

As a matter of actual practice, however, the New York Central was leasing trailers to shippers on a one way trip lease and was providing the bridge service both other than tariff charges.

Now, the effect to this new service on the New Haven Railroad was immediate.

Within the first two months that the service was offered by the New York Central, the New Haven lost 400 car loads of traffic to these two destinations which it could identify.

I should also point out that the New Haven had also published these Plan III charges for the new trailer-on-flatcar service but it had some disabilities.

It had two gateways to the west.

One at Maybrook, New York and the other one in New York City itself, I think the New Haven called the Harlem River where it made connection with westbound carriers.

The clearances on both of those routes were not such as to permit the standard size trailer on a standard height boxcar or flatcar to be transported.

The New Haven, however, had been using a special sort of a car, they called it a clisham car which carried the trailer at the lower level than an ordinary flatcar but it couldn't very well provide that service to the west because the unloading facilities for this specialized car were not maintained by all of its connections.

It had under progress, however, a program for eliminating its low occurrences and accordingly it published these new rates which are an issue here subject to an expiration date.

The expiration date was in September of 1959 prior to at time it came along that expiration date was postponed.

By September of 1959, the clearance problems what the New Haven had encountered, had been cleared up with respect to one of its routes, the one through Maybrook.

And of course, that gave it access to the both -- both cities that is Chicago and St.Louis.

Moreover it -- it also secured from the Interstate Commerce Commission by that time, permission to substitute two short flatcars for one long one.