ILLINOIS C. R. CO. V. NORFOLK & W. R. CO., 385 U. S. 57 (1966)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Illinois C. R. Co. v. Norfolk & W. R. Co., 385 U.S. 57 (1966)

Illinois Central Railroad Co. v. Norfolk & Western Railway Co

No. 15

Argued October 11, 1966

Decided November 14, 1966*

385 U.S. 57


Appellants, seven railroads, applied to the Interstate Commerce Commission (IDD) for authority to provide direct service to the Lake Calumet Harbor Port, which is being developed by the Chicago Regional Port District as a major deep water port facility for traffic via the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Port area is now served directly by only Rock Island, which, along with the nearest rail facility, Nickel Plate (later merged into the Norfolk & Western), intervened in opposition to the proposed expansion of rail service. The application sought approval of trackage extension as well as an unexecuted agreement between appellants and the Port District for operations within the Port area. After a full hearing, the Hearing Examiner recommended approval of appellants' entire project. The ICC adopted the recommendations, but ruled that t he applicants should file supplemental applications covering Port area operations as provided in the proposed lease with the Port District. The supplemental applications covering the lease were filed, an exclusive operating clause to which the ICC had objected having been eliminated. The ICC, finding that the public convenience and necessity required the additional services applied for by appellants, approved the applications, as supplemented, without a further hearing which the Rock Island and Nickel Plate had requested, the ICC having concluded that the previous hearing record was adequate to support the entire project. A second supplemental application was later filed clarifying the rental provision which, in the ICC's view, required no further hearing as requested by those railroads. The Rock Island and Nickel Plate sued to enjoin the ICC's orders, which a three-judge

Page 385 U. S. 58

District Court set aside as not supported by sufficient evidence. The District Court also found that due process required that Rock Island and Nickel Plate be granted a hearing on the rental provisions. The court ordered a hearing on all the issues.


1. The ICC's action granting appellant railroads' applications to provide additional services was supported by "substantial evidence" on the record viewed as a whole as to the Port's future potential and the need for providing competitive rail service at the outset of the Port's development. It was not the District Court's function to substitute its own conclusions for those which the ICC had fairly drawn from its findings. Pp. 385 U. S. 65-69.

2. During the proceedings before the Hearing Examiner and the ICC, the operations of the appellants within the Port area were fully considered as an integral part of their overall plan, and the District Court had no basis for concluding that due process required a new hearing on the issues. Pp. 70-75.

241 F.Supp. 974 reversed and remanded.

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