Chesapeake & Ohio Ry. Co. v. Public Service Comm'n,
242 U.S. 603 (1917)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Chesapeake & Ohio Ry. Co. v. Public Service Comm'n, 242 U.S. 603 (1917)

Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company v.

Public Service Commission

No. 64. Argued November 3, 1916

Decided February 5, 1917

242 U.S. 603


Following the court below, it is held that a law of West Virginia, viz., Acts 1881, c. 17, §§ 69, 71; Code 1913, c. 54, §§ 2983, 2995, in declaring that "railroads" shall be public highways "free to all persons for the transportation of their persons and property," embraces a branch line constructed and operated under it, and imposes on the carrier with respect to such line a continuing franchise obligation to

Page 242 U. S. 604

transport passenger as well as freight, and that such obligation may be enforced by state action although the carrier has long operated the branch in freight traffic only, and never in any other.

The duty to provide adequate transportation facilities for the public, which arises with the acceptance and accompanies the enjoyment of the privileges which a railroad company receives from a state, cannot be avoided merely upon the ground that performance will be attended by some pecuniary loss.

In passing upon the reasonableness of a state order requiring transportation service, the fact that a pecuniary loss will result to the carrier is not the only circumstance to be considered; the nature and extent of the carrier's intrastate business, its productiveness, the character of service required, the public need for it, and its effect upon the service already being rendered are to be considered also.

75 W.V. 100 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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