Chicago & North Western R. Co. v. Chicago, M., St. P. & P. R. Co.

PETITIONER: Chicago & North Western R. Co.
RESPONDENT: Chicago, M., St. P. & P. R. Co.
LOCATION: The Realtor Building, formerly McCrory’s Five and Ten Cent Store

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)

CITATION: 380 US 448 (1965)
ARGUED: Nov 17, 1964
DECIDED: Apr 05, 1965

Facts of the case


Media for Chicago & North Western R. Co. v. Chicago, M., St. P. & P. R. Co.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 17, 1964 in Chicago & North Western R. Co. v. Chicago, M., St. P. & P. R. Co.

Earl Warren:

Number 21, Chicago and North Western Railway Company versus Chicago Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific Company et al.

Mr. Danielson.

John C. Danielson:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

This matter arises from a connection of two railroads in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the Milwaukee Road, one of the appellees and the Lake Superior and Ishpeming one of the other appellees.

These are both Class 1 railroads subject to the jurisdiction of the Interstate Commerce Commission and the significant fact of the lesser luminary, the Lake Superior and Ishpeming which we shall as the L.S.& I. is that it is controlled significantly by the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company as the record shows.

Now, this connection is the first time in history as the record likewise shows that these two railroads have ever been physically connected.

Now, there appears in the record a large print which was prepared by the appellant, Milwaukee, showing this situation where the mainline and it is important I suggest in view of certain decisions of this Court that this is the mainline of the Ishpeming, L.S. & I., coming down here and ultimately terminating at iron mine at a place called Republic, Michigan.

Likewise, here comes the mainline of the Milwaukee up and ultimately terminating at a point called Champion, Michigan.

The connection is constructed here between these two points shown as A to B, rather small, 262 feet in all to accomplish the connection.

But the Court should see that it is physically impossible for trains ever to operate this connection and to deliver cars upon these interchanged tracks.

The red shows Milwaukee ownership, the blue shows the L.S.& I. ownership.

It is physically impossible in the first instance for the Milwaukee ever to achieve the delivery which we call interchange, the placement of a car routed with traffic in a position where another railroad may pick it up.

Impossible physically to operate under these interchanged tracks by the Milwaukee without operating between C and D, the main line of the Ishpeming.

The Court should see also, and it is important because the court below did not see this.

William O. Douglas:

Is your client an intervenor?

John C. Danielson:

That is correct, Your Honor.

Northwestern intervened in the complaint brought by the railroad which is not here, the Sew Line, in the proceeding before the Commission.

The Commission proceeding culminated in a three-judge review in a federal court in Wisconsin and is hereby direct appeal.

Now, not only is it necessary for Milwaukee to operate on the L.S.& I. mainline in order to arrive on these interchanged tracks, but having arrived on its track one, where it delivers its locomotive on the head end of these cars must come up on to the L.S.& I. in order to return back to the Milwaukee Road either through track two if there are no L.S.& I. cars waiting to be taken on to the Milwaukee or over the L.S.& I. mainline for a very significant, what we have here, roughly 3000 feet.

Now, originally this was set up as a lease of the mainline of the L.S.& I. to the Milwaukee.

Once the Commission received the complaint of the other intervenor, Sew Line, the lease was changed into a form of agreement which is set out.

The lease originally appears in the record beginning at page 49, describes the lease of L.S.& I.'s main track on that page and on page 51.

At the hearing before the Interstate Commerce Commission, the agreement was transformed into a license.

We contend this makes no difference, tracked rights being involved may be a personal right.

They involve no necessary estate in the land.

This Court has so held in Thompson against the Texas-Mexican Railroad Company in the 328 Volume of the United States reports.

Well, the form then should make no difference but the court below was confused into thinking that, and it left out one element of the preceding we feel that and the court below held at page 390 of the record that there was no operation by either of these appellees across the line of the other's railroad.

The fact here is that it is physically impossible to accomplish this interchange of traffic without that type of operation.

Now, once there was a connection through routes were established by rate action taken by the Milwaukee and the L.S.& I.

A connection of course is a sine qua non of through routes.