An order of a state commission, under legislative authority,
requiring a railroad to restore a siding is a state law within the
meaning of the provisions of the Constitution and acts of Congress
regulating the jurisdiction of this Court. P. 249 U. S.
Under the laws of Illinois, a side track of a railroad company,
used principally in moving freight from and to a particular plant,
open to use by the public and subject to public
control like other parts of the railroad, impressed with a public
Chicago & Northwestern Ry. Co. v. Ochs, ante,
249 U. S. 416
followed as to the
Page 249 U. S. 423
power of a state to require a railroad company, at it own
expense, to restore a siding used principally by a particular plant
but available generally as a public track, owned and controlled by
the railroad a part of its system. P. 249 U. S.
Such a requirement does not take the company's property for
private use, or for public use without compensation, in
contravention of the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 249 U. S. 425
277 Ill. 574 affirmed.
The case is stated in the opinion.
MR. JUSTICE VAN DEVANTER delivered the opinion of the Court.
For twenty-five years, the Lake Erie & Western Railroad
Company maintained and operated on its right of way at Elliott,
Illinois, a side track passing a grain elevator and coal yard
operated by one Cameron. The elevator stood partly on the right of
way and partly on ground owned by Cameron, his occupancy of the
former being under a lease. In May, 1915, the elevator was
destroyed by fire, whereupon the company exercised a reserved
option to cancel the lease and also took up the side track. Cameron
protested against the latter, proceeded to rebuild the elevator at
its former location, but wholly on his own ground, and in June,
1915, filed with the Public Utilities Commission a petition praying
that a restoration of the track be ordered. After notice and
hearing, the commission granted such an order and it was upheld by
the circuit and supreme courts of the state. State Public
Utilities Commission ex rel. v. Lake Erie & W. R. Co.,
Page 249 U. S. 424
It is contended here, as it was in the state courts, that the
order contravenes the due process of law clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment in that it takes property of the railroad company for
private use, or for public use without compensation.
Such an order, being legislative in its nature and made by an
instrumentality of the state, is a state law within the meaning of
the Constitution of the United States and the laws of Congress
regulating our jurisdiction. Grand Trunk Western Ry. Co. v.
Railroad Commission of Indiana, 221 U.
, 221 U. S. 403
Ross v. Oregon, 227 U. S. 150
227 U. S.
-163; Home Telephone & Telegraph Co. v. Los
Angeles, 227 U. S. 278
227 U. S.
-296; Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v.
Goldsboro, 232 U. S. 548
232 U. S. 555
Wadley Southern Ry. Co. v. Georgia, 235 U.
, 235 U. S.
-661; Arkadelphia Milling Co. v. St. Louis
Southwestern Ry. Co., 249 U. S. 134
Under the laws of the state, the side track, before its removal,
although used principally in moving freight from and to Cameron's
elevator and coal yard, was open to use by the public and subject
to public control like other parts of the company's road; in other
words, it was a track which the state impressed with a public
character. Truesdale v. Grape Sugar Co.,
101 Ill. 561,
567; Chicago Dock & Canal Co. v. Garrity,
155, 167, 171; Chicago & Alton R. Co. v. Suffern,
Ill. 274, 286. Not only so, but the statute under which its
restoration was ordered contains express provisions whereby it will
retain that character and be open to use by other shippers as well
as by Cameron. Hurd's Stat. 1916, c. 111a, § 45.
The shipments for which the track has been used have yielded the
company a revenue of about $20,000 each year for several years.
What the cost of restoration will be the record does not disclose,
but the commission, with knowledge of such matters, has found that
it is justified by the business reasonably to be expected, and the
Page 249 U. S. 425
court of the state, besides sustaining that and other findings
of the commission, aptly points out that, but for the hasty and
improper removal of the track, the company "would not be at the
expense of replacing it." When the track is restored, the company
will own it and be entitled to make a reasonable charge for its
use, just as is the case with other property employed in the
company's transportation service.
Applying the decision just announced in Chicago &
Northwestern Ry. Co. v. Ochs Brick & Tile Co., ante,
249 U. S. 416
think the order does not take property of the company for private
use, or for public use without compensation, in contravention of
the Fourteenth Amendment.