Pennsylvania R. Co. v. Towers
245 U.S. 6 (1917)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Pennsylvania R. Co. v. Towers, 245 U.S. 6 (1917)

Pennsylvania Railroad Company v. Towers

No. 31

Argued April 25, 26, 1917

Decided October 15, 1917

245 U.S. 6




Whether the statutes of Maryland intend to authorize the Public Service Commission to revise intrastate commutation rates when such rates have already been established by voluntary action of the railroad company, is a question of state law concerning which the conclusion of the Court of Appeals of Maryland binds this Court upon a writ of error to review its judgment.

State regulation, through a public service commission, requiring a carrier to maintain commutation service between points within the state and fixing rates therefor which are less than the intrastate rate lawfully established for one-way intrastate travel in general, does not deprive the carrier of due process of law when the service so regulated was established by the carrier voluntarily and the rates fixed by the state are reasonable. Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Ry. Co. v. Smith,173 U. S. 684, is distinguished, and the views expressed in that case which are inconsistent with the decision in this one are disapproved.

126 Md. 59 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 245 U. S. 7

MR. JUSTICE DAY delivered the opinion of the Court.

This was an action in the Circuit Court No. 2 of Baltimore City, Maryland, to enjoin the Public Service Commission of Maryland from enforcing an order to sell commutation tickets at certain rates specified. The injunction was refused, and on appeal the Court of Appeals of Maryland affirmed the decree and held that, although the order fixing the rates declared the same to be

Page 245 U. S. 8

in force for ten years, there should be reserved to the railroad company the right to apply to the Commission after the lapse of a reasonable time for a rescission or modification of its order if experience demonstrated that the revenue derived under the tariff as established by the Commission was not properly compensatory for the services performed. 126 Md. 59.

The order of the Commission required the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, lessee of the Northern Central Railway, to sell tickets for the transportation of passengers between Baltimore and Parkton within the State of Maryland on the line of the Northern Central Railway.

A table appearing in the opinion of the Court of Appeals shows the relative rates under the former schedules and the new order of the Public Service Commission to be as follows:


Rates Prior to Rates as per schedule Rates under Order

Nov. 25, 1914 Filed Nov. 25, 1914 P.S.Com.

Dec. 23, 1914

1. Round trip, 10-day, Round trip, no limit, Round trip, 2 1/4

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