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CHESAPEAKE & OHIO RAILWAY COMPANY v. UNITED STATES ET AL.

decided: March 9, 1931.

CHESAPEAKE & OHIO RAILWAY COMPANY
v.
UNITED STATES ET AL.



APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA.

Hughes, Holmes, Van Devanter, McReynolds, Brandeis, Sutherland, Butler, Stone, Roberts

Author: Butler

[ 283 U.S. Page 36]

 MR. JUSTICE BUTLER delivered the opinion of the Court.

This suit was brought by the appellant, for brevity called the Chesapeake, under the Urgent Deficiencies Act, 28 U. S. C., § 47, against the United States, the Guyandot and Tug River Railroad Company and the Norfolk and Western Railway Company. The former is a subsidiary of the latter and both may be called the Norfolk. The Interstate Commerce Commission appeared as a defendant. 28 U. S. C., § 45a. The purpose of the suit was to set aside and annul so much of an order and certificate of the Commission entered and issued July 23, 1928 (145 I. C. C. 167, 188, 193) and so much of subsequent orders in the same proceeding, as authorize the Norfolk to construct and operate a line of railroad in West Virginia from Gilbert about 10 1/2 miles to Wharncliffe. The case was tried before three judges. A condensed statement of the evidence and exhibits before the Commission was submitted to the court. After hearing argument for the respective parties, the court entered its decree denying plaintiff any relief and dismissing the bill. 35 F.2d 769.

May 7, 1925, the Chesapeake filed its application for a certificate that the present and future public convenience and necessity require the construction by it of an extension of its Logan subdivision from Gilbert easterly 47.3 miles to Mullens and an extension of its Winding Gulf line from Stone Coal westerly 8.2 miles to Mullens. On October 29,

[ 283 U.S. Page 371925]

     , the Guyandot company filed its application for a similar certificate for the construction of a line of railroad extending from a connection with the Virginian Railway at Elmore westerly 53 miles to Wharncliffe. The Norfolk and the Virginian joined in this application. An amended application was filed December 24, 1925, by the Guyandot which was joined in by the Norfolk alone. January 21, 1927, the Virginian and Western Railway, a subsidiary of the Virginian Railway Company -- both may be referred to as the Virginian -- filed its application for a like certificate for the construction of a line extending from a connection with the Guyandot branch of the Virginian at Ittman down that river 40.6 miles to a connection with the Chesapeake at Gilbert. This application was joined in by the Virginian Railway Company.

The locations of all the proposed lines between Gilbert and Mullens, Elmore or Ittman were in the narrow valley traversed by the Guyandot river. Authority to build the line between Gilbert and Wharncliffe was sought only by the Norfolk. The three applications were considered at the same hearing. The Virginian supported the Norfolk's application for the Gilbert-Wharncliffe connection. The Chesapeake opposed. All the applications were disposed of by the same report and order.

The Commission granted to the Virginian permission to construct its line in the Guyandot valley from Ittman to Gilbert and to the Norfolk leave to build between Gilbert and Wharncliffe. It denied the rest of the application of the Norfolk and that of the Chesapeake in toto.

The appellant seeks reversal upon the claim that neither the findings of the Commission nor the evidence affords any support for the order and that the record shows the construction of the proposed line between Gilbert and Wharncliffe to be contrary to the public interest and to have been authorized under an erroneous theory of the applicable law. It says that the only finding of the Commission

[ 283 U.S. Page 38]

     that supports the order is that the construction of the line will enable the Norfolk to compete with the Chesapeake for westbound traffic moving over the Virginian from the Guyandot valley and will assure the coal operators on the Virginian competitive service to the west. And it maintains that the Commission is not authorized by the Act to grant a certificate of public convenience and necessity for new ...


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