« ПретходнаНастави »
or from that city, when the line-haul rate embraces a receiving and delivering service for which the spur-track service is a substitute. It is said that carriers are bound to carry only to or from their terminal stations. But when industrial spur tracks have been established within the carrier's switching limits, within which also various team tracks are located, these spurs may in fact constitute an essential part of the carrier's terminal system. It was stated by the Commission that carriers throughout the country treat industry spurs of the kind here in question 'as portions of their terminals, making no extra charge for service thereto when the carrier receives the benefit of the line haul out or in.' It was added that while this general statement covered perhaps ten thousand cities and towns in the United States, the carriers before the Commission could name only three exceptions, to wit, the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. But, laying the generalization on one side, it is plain that the question whether or not there is at any point an additional service in connection with industrial spur tracks upon which to base an extra charge, or whether there is merely a substituted service which is substantially a like service to that included in the line-haul rate and not received, is a question of fact to be determined according to the actual conditions of operation.
Such a question is manifestly one upon which it is the province of the Commission to pass.
4. We must therefore take the findings of the Commission in the present case as to the character and manner of use of the industrial spurs in Los Angeles—that they constituted part of the carrier's terminals and that under the conditions there existing, the receipt and delivery of goods on these spurs was a like service as compared with the receipt and delivery of goods at team tracks and freight sheds--as conclusions of fact. Assuming that they were based upon evidence, they are not open to review. Balti
more & Ohio R. R. Co. v. Pitcairn Coal Co., 215 U. S. 481, 495; Interstate Commerce Commission v. D., L. & W. R. R. Co., 220 U. S. 235, 251; Interstate Commerce Commission v. Union Pacific R. R. Co., 222 U. S. 541, 547, 548; Interstate Commerce Commission v. Louisville & Nashville R. R. Co., 227 U. S. 88, 92; Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Rwy. Co. v. United States, 232 U. S. 199, 221.
In this view, we find no ground for holding the order of the Commission to be invalid. It is not denied that the complaining shippers and these carriers were heard before the Commission and that evidence disclosing the terminal situation in Los Angeles, and the nature and use of the various tracks within the switching limits, was presented; and it cannot be doubted that the case demanded an appreciation of a variety of details, or minor facts, in order that the ultimate questions of fact could be determined. It is said that it was established by undisputed evidence that the team tracks and freight sheds provided by the carriers were fully adequate for all carload freight. Putting aside the denial by the Commission of this allegation, it is evident that the question was not simply as to such adequacy, but as to the actual use of the various tracks, the services thereon relatively considered, and whether there was really an extra service in the circumstances shown. Again, it is said that the Commission did not find the switching charge in itself, that is, taken separately, to be unreasonable, but the inquiry was whether in view of the conditions of the distribution of the carload freight through a large area there was in fact such a similarity of moyement as to negative the basis for a separate charge. It is further urged that while the contracts for the construction of these spurs did not fix the charge, it was proved by undisputed evidence that at the time these contracts were made the shippers consented to a special charge, if freight were received and delivered thereon, and that the charge in question had been generally
maintained. The service, however, was performed subject to the law of the land requiring that the carrier's charges should not be unreasonable or unjustly discriminatory. (See Louisville & Nashville R. R. Co. v. Mottley, 219 U.S. 467, 482; Phila., Balt. & Wash. R. R. Co. v. Schubert, 224 U. S. 603, 613, 614.) If it became apparent that the shippers were subjected to an arbitrary and unwarranted exaction, they were in no way estopped from bringing the matter before the body created by law to deal with such questions and from securing its order directing the carriers to stop the objectionable practise.
But it is contended that the finding of the Commission is opposed to the admitted physical facts, and reference is made to the transportation to and from industrial plants located from 1-5 of a mile to 7 miles from the main track of the carrier. We find no such fundamental unsoundness in the Commission's conclusions. It appeared, as already stated, that the carrier had designated certain territory as within its switching or yard limits in Los Angeles extending for 6 or 7 miles and 'including numerous tracks, main lines, branch lines, industry tracks, team tracks, freight-shed tracks and various structures.' It does not appear how many industries were within a short distance or to how many the statement as to the greatest distance above-mentioned applied. The carrier did not fix a charge according to the comparative service in the case of these various industrial plants. It made the same switching charge whether the distance was 200 feet or 7 miles, that is, it dealt with the situation upon an average basis making the same charge for all this switching in a given area which constituted its terminal district. It was the service within these switching limits, that the Commission was considering. Manifestly it was permissible to establish such a district, and taking the team-track and freight-shed service in that area, and the average spur-track service, the Commission reached the conclusion set forth. It is said
that the finding of the Commission as to the comparative cost of the service was not affirmative, but was merely a negative statement to the effect that the Commission was unable to find that the cost of spur-track delivery was more expensive to the carrier. While this form of expression was used at one place in the Commission's report, at another the service in question was described as one which involved ‘no greater expense than would team-track delivery and we cannot but regard this as the Commission's finding upon the evidence. It is then insisted that the contrary of this finding is self-evident, but the facts with respect to the movement of freight in a great terminal district are by no means so simple that the deliberate judgment of the Commission can be regarded as contradicting the obvious.
The argument for the petitioners necessarily invites the court to substitute its judgment for that of the Commission upon matters of fact within the Commission's province. This is not the function of the court. We cannot regard the Act to Regulate Commerce as justifying an increased or extra charge for a substantially similar service and upon the case made it cannot be said that the Commission has overstepped its authority in forbidding the charge in question as one which was unjustly discriminatory.
In our opinion the Commerce Court erred in denying the Government's motion to dismiss and in granting the petitioners' motion for injunction. The order of the Commerce Court is therefore reversed and the cause is remanded to the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of California, southern division, with instructions to dismiss the bill. Act of October 22, 1913, c. 32; Stat. 1913, p. 221.
It is so ordered.
Opinion of the Court.
INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION v.
SOUTHERN PACIFIC COMPANY.
APPEAL FROM THE COMMERCE COURT.
No. 98. Argued January 14, 15, 1914.-Decided June 8, 1914.
Los Angeles Switching Case, ante, p. 294, followed and applied to sim
ilar switching charges made by railway companies in the City of
San Francisco. 188 Fed. Rep. 241, reversed.
THE facts, which involve the validity of an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission relative to switching charges within the yard limits of San Francisco, California, are stated in the opinion.
Mr. Blackburn Esterline, Special Assistant to the Attorney General, with whom The Solicitor General was on the brief, for the United States.
Mr. P. J. Farrell for the Interstate Commerce Commission. 1
Mr. Fred H. Wood and Mr. Gardiner Lathrop, with whom Mr. Robert Dunlap, Mr. T. J. Norton, Mr. C. W. Durbrow, Mr. W. F. Herrin and Mr. J. P. Blair were on the brief, for appellees.
MR. JUSTICE HUGHES delivered the opinion of the court.
The Pacific Coast Jobbers' and Manufacturers' Association complained before the Interstate Commerce Commission of a switching charge of $2.50 per car maintained by the respondents for delivering and receiving carload freight to and from industries located upon spurs and sidetracks within the carriers' switching limits in San Fran
For abstracts of arguments in this case see abstracts in preceding case which was argued simultaneously herewith.