United States v. Northern Pacific R. Co., 152 U.S. 284 (1894)
U.S. Supreme CourtUnited States v. Northern Pacific R. Co., 152 U.S. 284 (1894)
United States v. Northern Pacific Railroad Company
Argued December 14, 1893
Decided March 5, 1894
152 U.S. 284
Congress contemplated by the Act of July 2, 1864, 13 Stat. 365, "granting lands to aid in the construction of a railroad and telegraph line from Lake Superior to Puget's Sound, on the Pacific Coast, by the northern route" the construction of a main trunk line which would not touch at any point at or near Portland, and the western end of which would be east and northeast of a direct line between Portland and Puget's Sound, and also of a branch line leaving the main trunk line at some suitable place, not more than three hundred miles from its western terminus, and extending, via the valley of the Columbia River, to a point at or near Portland.
As to Portland, the purpose pf Congress by the passage of that act was to connect it with the east by a branch road through the valley of the Columbia that would strike a main trunk line connecting Puget's Sound with Lake Superior, and not to connect Portland with Puget's Sound by the most eligible route between those places.
The grant to the Oregon Central Railroad Company by the Act of May 4, 1870, c. 69, 13 Stat. 94, had taken effect before the grant to the Northern Pacific Railroad Company by the joint resolution of May 31, 1870, 16 Stat. 378, was made, and consequently the lands in question in this case were not included in that grant to the Northern Pacific Railroad Company.
When the lands so granted to the Oregon Central Railroad Company were forfeited to the United States, they were thereby restored to the public domain, and did not pass to the Northern Pacific Company by the said grant of May 31, 1870.
The case is stated in the opinion.