District of Columbia Comm'rs v. Balt. & Potomac R. Co.,
114 U.S. 453 (1885)

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U.S. Supreme Court

District of Columbia Comm'rs v. Balt. & Potomac R. Co., 114 U.S. 453 (1885)

District of Columbia Commissioners v.

Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Company

Argued April 9, 1885

Decided April 20, 1885

114 U.S. 453


The right to use the streets of Washington for any other than the ordinary use of streets must proceed from Congress.

In the absence of express authorization by Act of Congress, the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad Company has no power to lay its railroad track in or across the streets of the City of Washington.

The several acts of Congress relating to that company give it no authority to leave Maryland Avenue on its way from Ninth Street to the Long Bridge. The act of incorporation of the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad Company by the State of Maryland confers no power upon it to use the streets of a city as an incident of its right to run to or from such city.

C. 18 Rev.Stat. Dist.Columbia, General Incorporation, Class 7, concerning corporations, confers no power upon a railroad company to use the streets of Washington without obtaining the previous assent of Congress.

The appellee in this Court, as plaintiff in the court below, filed its bill in equity to restrain the appellants from interfering with the laying of its track in certain streets in the City of Washington. Judgment being rendered for plaintiff, defendants appealed to this Court. The facts which make the case are stated in the opinion of the Court.

Page 114 U. S. 454

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