Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway Company v. United States

PETITIONER: Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway Company
RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Fleetwood Paving Co.

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)

CITATION: 361 US 173 (1959)
ARGUED: Nov 16, 1959 / Nov 17, 1959
DECIDED: Dec 14, 1959

Facts of the case


Media for Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway Company v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 17, 1959 in Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway Company v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 16, 1959 in Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway Company v. United States

Earl Warren:

Number 12, Minneapolis & the St. Louis Railway Co., Appellant versus United States of America.

Number 27 South Dakota et al versus United States et al and Number 28, Minnesota et al versus United States.

Mr. Swiren you may proceed.

Max Swiren:

Mr. Chief Justice and Your Honors.

This proceeding concerns two competing applications for authority from the Interstate Commerce Commission to acquire the capital stock of a small bridge carrier known as the Toledo, Peoria & Western Railroad.

I brought this large reproduction of one of the two maps appended to our brief in order that we might proceed more expeditiously in painting the picture of the relationships and the basic problem here involved.

The carrier that is the subject matter of the concern crosses the (Inaudible) of the State of Illinois and it is here in green beginning at the Indiana state line passing through Peoria and then on to Lomax and Keokuk on the Iowa side.

It is 240 miles long --

Charles E. Whittaker:

On Iowa side.

Max Swiren:

On the Iowa side, yes sir.

It's 240 miles long and draws its strategy from the fact that it bridges the transcontinental carriers of the east and the transcontinental carriers of the west through the Peoria gateway, and that brings us to the problem of what we mean by a gateway.

The largest terminal for railroad interchange is in Chicago with 31 road haul carriers and a large number of switching lines serving this tremendous industrial complex.

The next largest east-west gateway is at St. Louis.

At both points there is a break in the divisions of rates between carriers.

May I ask you a question?

Max Swiren:

Certainly Mr. Justice Harlan.

I wanted to ask you (Inaudible)

Max Swiren:

That's terminal line in -- in the Peoria District in the switching district.

Is that (Inaudible)

Max Swiren:

No sir it is not.

No, there are two switching lines in Peoria.

One is the P&PU and the other is the Peoria Eastern.

The -- the advantage of course of Peoria is that it by-passes the congestion and delay of the very busy terminals in Chicago and St. Louis, but it also has the disadvantage to many carriers of shortening their haul and therefore their divisions.

There is a fourth gateway that needs to be considered here, which is the Decatur in combination with the Hannibal Bridge over the Mississippi.

That combination is used exclusively as shown by this dotted line by the Wabash, a wholly-owned subsidiary 99%-owned subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Railway.

Of the two applications of -- were pending before the Commission are one by the small carrier that I represent, the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway --

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

That never has been an issue, has it?

Max Swiren:

No sir it is not.

It is an independent railway.

It has a $20 million dollar capital and revenues at $20,500,000, a plant with the book value of about $72 million and just to get the orientation it compares with the two competing lines in this fashion.