Texas & Pacific Ry. Co. v. Gulf, C. & S.F. Ry. Co.
270 U.S. 266 (1926)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Texas & Pacific Ry. Co. v. Gulf, C. & S.F. Ry. Co., 270 U.S. 266 (1926)

Texas & Pacific Railway Company v.

Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railway Company

No. 417

Argued December 2, 1925

Decided March 1, 1926

270 U.S. 266

Syllabus

1. In a suit under par. 18 of § 402, Transportation Act, 1920, to enjoin the construction of railway tracks as constituting an extension

Page 270 U. S. 267

for which a certificate of public convenience and necessity must first be obtained under par. 18 from the Interstate Commerce Commission, the district court has jurisdiction to decide the issue whether the track is an extension (rather than an industrial track excepted by par. 22) without waiting for that question to be presented to the Commission. P. 270 U. S. 271.

2. When applied to for a certificate, (pars. 19-20), the Commission may pass incidentally upon the question whether the proposed extension is in fact such, for if it be only an industrial track (par. 22), the Commission must decline, on that ground, to issue a certificate. P. 270 U. S. 272.

3. A carrier desiring to construct new tracks does not necessarily admit, by applying for a certificate, that they constitute an extension, but may submit, and secure a determination of, the question, without waiving any right. P. 270 U. S. 273.

4. A party in interest, though entitled to appear and resist an application if one be made, cannot initiate proceedings before the Commission against the project, but is afforded an absolute and complete remedy by injunction under par. 20. Id.

5. Every court of general jurisdiction has power to determine whether the conditions essential to its exercise exist. P. 270 U. S. 274.

6. On the facts described in the opinion, held that a proposed line would be an extension, and not a spur or industrial track. Id.

7. In determining what is an extension, the purpose of the Act to develop and maintain an adequate railway system, and therein to curb wasteful competition and the building of unnecessary lines, is the important guide. P. 270 U. S. 277.

8. "Spur, industrial, team, switching or side tracks, . . . located wholly within one state" (par. 22) are commonly constructed either to improve the facilities required by shippers already served by the carrier or to supply the facilities to others, who, being within the same territory and similarly situated, are entitled to like service from the carrier. The question whether the construction should be allowed or compelled depends largely upon local, conditions which the state regulating body is peculiarly fitted to appreciate. Moreover, the expenditure involved is ordinarily small. P. 270 U. S. 278.

9. But if the purpose and effect of the new trackage is to extend substantially the line of a carrier into new territory, the proposed trackage constitutes an extension of the railroad within the meaning of par. 18, although the line be short and although the character of the service contemplated be that commonly rendered to industries by means of spurs or industrial tracks. P. 270 U. S. 278.

Page 270 U. S. 268

10. The plaintiff, which, immediately upon learning of defendant's intention to extend its line without obtaining a certificate under § 402, par. 18 of the Transportation Act, protested to the federal and state commission and began suit for injunction before the construction contract was made, held not guilty of laches. P. 270 U. S. 279.

4 F.2d 904 reversed.

Appeal from a decree of the circuit court of appeals reversing a decree of the district court (298 F. 488) enjoining the construction and operation of a railway extension. See also 266 U.S. 588.

Page 270 U. S. 270

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