New Jersey v. New York, Susquehanna & Western Railroad Company

RESPONDENT: New York, Susquehanna & Western Railroad Company
LOCATION: James Wah Toy’s Laundry

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)

CITATION: 372 US 1 (1963)
ARGUED: Dec 11, 1962
DECIDED: Feb 18, 1963

Facts of the case


Media for New Jersey v. New York, Susquehanna & Western Railroad Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 11, 1962 in New Jersey v. New York, Susquehanna & Western Railroad Company

Earl Warren:

Number 104, New Jersey et al., Appellants, versus New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad Company.

Mr. Gural, you may proceed.

William Gural:

Your Honor, Mr. Chief Justice, Associate Justice, may it please the Court.

This case comes here on appeal from a judgment of a three-judge statutory court, which reversed a determination by the Interstate Commerce Commission, that determination would be the lack of jurisdiction to permit a discontinuance of the trains which were operated by this railroad has one judge dissenting.

This railroad operates three trains in each direction between Butler, New Jersey and Susquehanna Transfer in North Bergen, New Jersey.

Thereafter, passengers are transported by a bus to the Port of New York Authority Bus Terminal.

This carrier sought to discontinue its trains under the provisions of Section 13a (1) of the 1958 Transportation Act which is concerned with interstate trains.

And the Interstate Commerce Commission and its determination says -- said that these were intrastate trains and the fact that they're connected with a bus carrying them on to New York, did not make it an interstate train, so that the provisions of 13a (1) did not apply.

Prior to the enactment of the Transportation Act of 1958, the jurisdiction over the discontinuance of trains and ferries, both interstate and intrastate was -- were in the states.

The federal or the Interstate Commerce Commission had no jurisdiction over the discontinuance of a train or ferry.

Its jurisdiction was over the discontinuance or the abandonment of a line of railroad.

Now, 13 -- Section 13a is divided into two parts, there's a subsection 13a (1) which deals with a discontinuance of interstate trains and a procedure is outlined in this section where in the carrier post its notices and the Interstate Commerce Commission may or may not act to require those trains to continue.

And on the other hand, subsection 13a (2) deals with intrastate trains and there, the Interstate Commerce Commission may not act unless and until the state first has had an opportunity to exercise its jurisdiction over those intrastate trains.

The procedure under 13a (2) is different too because if a state fails to act within a period of a 120 days or denies the relief that the carrier request with respect to discontinuance, the Intrastate Commerce Commission must hold a full hearing.

I must make specific findings with respect to the -- or the effect that present and future can -- public convenience and necessity, permit the discontinuance of the service and also that the continued operation of these intrastate trains would be a burden on the carriers' interstate operations or on interstate commerce itself.

Now, I believe that the statute itself is quite clear.

It limits its terms to the vehicles of transportation, trains or ferries, buses are not mentioned, terminals are not mentioned and terminal transfers are not mentioned.

And even though the bus here is a vehicle which is incidental to railroad transportation, the word “railroad” and the word “transportation” are larger terms than the words “trains or ferries”.

The bus is not incidental to a train or to a ferry; it's incidental to railroad transportation.

Now, I think the court below permitted its attention to be diverted to where the passengers were going, where the tickets -- the destination on the tickets and from that reason a -- an interstate train and I submit that that was incorrect.

It misapplied the word “transportation”.

Transportation again is a larger term than the word “train”.

The test in this case, should've been “where do the trains go?”

Do they travel from a point in one state to a point in the same state or do those trains go from a point in one state to a point in another state?

Not where the passengers going, not where the bus goes or not where the entertainment -- enter -- terminal transport takes them.

The --

Arthur J. Goldberg:


William Gural:

As far as I know, the Interstate Commerce Commission has authority over the bus, their intrastate bus, by a provision in the carrier's tariff.

There's a provision that these buses will be carried across to the Port of New York Authority Terminal.

Arthur J. Goldberg: