Page images
PDF
EPUB

of its bridge; the Ohio & Mississippi Railway Company not being bound by the contract of September 29, 1886, to pay petitioner ‘any tolls' thereunder until its liability for tolls, charges, or rentals under the contract of June 5, 1872, with the Louisville Bridge Company, is removed. Now, the contract of June 5, 1872, which the Ohio & Mississippi Railway Company entered into with the Louisville Bridge Company and other railroad companies, including respondent, and in the maintenance and enforcement of which respondent has a direct business and pecuniary interest, was neither abrogated nor annulled by the Act to regulate commerce. The provisions of that contract are not in conflict, but in strict conformity, with both the letter and spirit of the act of Congress.

“Under the terms and operation of that contract, which is still in full force as against the Ohio & Mississippi Railway Company and all parties thereto, the Ohio & Mississippi Railway Company had and enjoyed all reasonable, proper, and equal facilities with any and every other railroad company entering Louisville from the north side of the Ohio river, and interchanging traffic with respondent. It voluntarily abandoned these facilities in 1888, changed its business to the petitioner's bridge, not in the interest of the public or of the interstate commerce it handled, bụt for its private benefit and advantage; and petitioner now seeks to secure for it, as well as for itself, the same terms and facilities which existed under the contract of June 5, 1872, and without subjecting either to the obligation of compensating respondent, or sharing in the expense of an interchange, as provided in the contracts of May 22, 1873, and May 16, 1888. The Act to regulate commerce, no more than the act of June 15, 1866 (Section 5258, Rev. Stat. U. S.), was never intended to invade the domain of private contracts between common carriers, which were valid when made, and are not in conflict with the provisions of the law.

“In Railroad Co. v. Richmond, 19 Wall. 590, the Supreme Court says of such contracts, that the observance of good faith between parties and the upholding of private contracts and enforcing their obligations, are matters of higher moment and importance to the public welfare, and far more reaching in their consequences, than the public policy sought to be established in the facilitation of commercial intercourse among the States, which the act of June 15, 1866, aimed to promote.'

Under such circumstances as surround the parties, neither the Ohio & Mississippi Railway Company nor the petitioner, who, for private advantage, is co-operating with the Ohio & Mississippi Railway Company in trying to escape from the obligations of said contract of June 5, 1872, are in a position to commend themselves to the favorable consideration of a court of equity, and no strained construction of the law should be made in order to afford them or either of them, the relief they seek at the hands of the court.”

On the question of fact as to whether the point of interchange demanded by the complainant was a suitable one the Commission and the Court differed widely. The Commission said:

'We hold that the point of connection at Seventh street

and Magnolia avenue in Louisville is a convenient and suitable point for making exchange of traffic between complainant and any carrier that may make use of its tracks, and the defendant."

The Court, on the same point, said:

“The fourth point presented in this case, which is whether petitioner's connection with respondent's road at Seventh street and Magnolia avenue in Louisville, is a proper, suitable, and convenient place for the interchange of traffic between them and the railroads using petitioner's track, and whether respondents refusal to interchange at said point is an unreasonable and unjust discrimination against petitioner, and the carriers using its tracks, involves questions both of fact and law.

“Now, it clearly appears from the foregoing statement of facts that respondent has already established, and has in use in the city of Louisville, four suitable, ample, and conveniently located and fully-equipped yards and depots, at one or the other of which it receives and delivers all freights arriving at or departing from Louisville, and makes all its interchanges of freights with other lines, furnishing to the latter at said places 'all reasonable, proper, and equal facilities,' not only for such interchange of traffic, but also 'for receiving, forwarding, and delivering of passengers and property to and from its line or lines, and those connecting therewith,' and does this without discrimination in its rates and charges as between such connecting lines. At petitioner's Seventh street and Magnolia avenue connection neither respondent nor petitioner has any yard, station or depot; neither owns any ground there except respondent's right of way, 66 feet in width on which its double main tracks are located; neither has any buildings, sheds, or platforms there for the reception and accommodation of freights to be handled and exchanged at that point; nor has either of them any clerks or employees stationed there for the inspection of cars, receipting for freights, etc. Without such accommodations, and without the employment of such clerical force located there, an interchange of traffic at said point cannot be made in a proper and convenient way to either party. * *

“With no facilities at said Seventh Street and Magnolia connection for the interchange of traffic, or for the receiving, forwarding, and delivering of property there, and being under no legal duty or obligation to provide such facilities at said point, upon what principle can it be successfully asserted that in declining to transact such business at such place respondent is refusing or denying to petitioner and the roads using its track ‘all proper, reasonable, and equal facilities for the interchange of traffic, or for receiving, forwarding, and delivering of property, such as it has provided and affords to other connecting lines at its Ninth and Broadway yard and depot? *

“It is perfectly manifest from the location of the said Seventh street and Magnolia connection, and from the lack of all suitable and proper accommodations there for conducting the business involved in the interchange of freights, and from the manner in which such freight, whether in carload or broken lots, would have to be handled by responall proper,

dent, that, if respondent is required to furnish at that point

reasonable, and equal facilities, or, as required by the order of the Commission, the same equal facilities' which it furnishes and affords to the lines connecting with it at Ninth and Broadway yard, petitioner will thereby secure benefits and advantages superior to those conferred upon any other connecting line or lines, and largely, if not entirely, at respondent's expense. The order of the Commission imposes no terms and conditions under which the interchange at said connection shall be made. * *

“But, without the imposition of such terms and conditions it is clear that petitioner and the railroads using its tracks and seeking an interchange at said connection will secure, without cost, to themselves or compensation to respondent, services, and the benefit of facilities and of employees, for which other connecting lines interchanging at other places make respondent compensation, and bear their proportion of the terminal expense. The law never contemplated such results."

« PreviousContinue »