Illinois Central Railroad Company v. Norfolk & Western Railway Company

PETITIONER: Illinois Central Railroad Company
RESPONDENT: Norfolk & Western Railway Company
LOCATION: Bellmawr, New Jersey Police Department

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1965-1967)

CITATION: 385 US 57 (1966)
ARGUED: Oct 11, 1966
DECIDED: Nov 14, 1966

Facts of the case


Media for Illinois Central Railroad Company v. Norfolk & Western Railway Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 11, 1966 in Illinois Central Railroad Company v. Norfolk & Western Railway Company

Earl Warren:

Numbers 15, 17, and 20, Illinois Central Railroad Company et al. versus Norfolk and Western Railway Company et al., Calumet Harbor Terminals, Incorporated, appellants versus Norfolk and Western Railway Company et al., and United States and Interstate Commerce Commission, appellants, versus Norfolk and Western Railway Company et al.

Mr. O'Brien.

William J. O'Brien, Jr.:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

This case concerns the validity of reports and orders of the Interstate Commerce Commission granting authority to six railroads whom I represent to extend their lines and operations to serve the facilities of the principal customers and shippers of the Rock Island Railroad at Lake Calumet Harbor in Chicago, Illinois which customers and shippers I also represent.

The case presents two issues.

I shall treat with the primary issue as to whether or not there was substantial support in the evidence to the findings and conclusions of the Commission.

And Mr. Posner, the Department of Justice will treat with the issue as to whether or not the Rock Island was denied due process of law when the Commission refused to grant further hearings in the case.

At the outset let me say that this is not a merely confined to the Rock Island and the six railroads but it is a case of the six railroads wishing to serve the port and the principal shippers at Lake Calumet wanting these railroads to serve the port on a one side and the Rock Island, the sole railroad serving the port on the other.

A statutory three-judge District Court in Cleveland, Ohio, as one judge dissenting held it was not ample support in the record for the conclusions of the Commission and they should injunction permanently restraining the Commission from putting its orders into effect.

At the same time the court found there is substantial support in the evidence with the major findings of the Commission.

And these findings Your Honors, we respectfully submit in adopting themselves would justify the granting of a certificate by the Commission.

Appellants, applicants before the Commission and intervening shippers seek to have this injunction dissolved in order that the observers proposed which the Commission found to be required in the future public convenience necessity might be initiated and accelerated.

Contrary to the intent of Congress, the District Courts and the Rock Island would write out from Section 1, Paragraph 18 of the Interstate Commerce Act, the word “future”.

That Act in substance through that portion in the Act in substance provides that, “no railroad shall extend its lines or its operations until it asked first obtain from Interstate Commerce Commission a certificate of the present or future public convenience and the necessity requires or will require such construction and/or operation.

In the light of the evidence submitted by shippers, Court and Public Officials in the light of the findings of the commission themselves not be -- the Court including the dissenting opinion.

It's difficult to understand the opinion and order of the District Court which is carefully inconsistent and contradictory.

When the applications were filed with the Commission approximately 10 years ago, the appellants sought to prove and did so to force the examiners satisfaction and later the Commission satisfaction that the service proposed by the railroads would aide in the development of the Court, at port, excuse me.

The Commission found and the courts said, there were substantial support in the record to the finding that Lake Calumet Harbor is located and one of the heaviest industrial areas in the world.

That presents one of the greatest potentials for the generating of traffic in the country.

That is the major port of the Port of Chicago.

The major deep water port of the Port of Chicago and it is located in Chicago as the heart of Chicago's railroad switching district.

The Port of Chicago was then the major Great Lake's general cargo port and in 1959 was to become a dominant gateway for export grain.

This property is publicly owned and as leased to individual operators by the Chicago Regional Port District, individual operators like appellants here.

At the time of the hearing, over $24 million have been spent on the initial development of Lake Calumet Harbor including the construction of grain elevators, public warehouses, cold storage plants, transit sheds, trucking terminals, and 14 miles of railroad tracks.

Additional basic findings for which the Court held over substantial support in the record where the following that the great – the lakes to Gulf Waterway completed 1933 is St. Lawrence Seaway which would be completed in 1959 and the Calumet Sag Channel nearing completion would make the port one of the busiest in the country.

Its facilities have unparalleled access to barge, lake steamer, and motor transportation.

And what the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway would have complete access to ocean transportation.

It is however served by one railroad.

With the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway beside there'll be an appreciable increase in the size and the capacity of the ships serving the Great Lakes overseas transportation, stated more briefly.

The size and carrying capacity, the ships would be doubled in order to permit a greater percentage of the world's merchant train to reach the Port of Chicago each season.