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UNION LIME CO. V. CHICAGO & N.W. RY. CO., 233 U. S. 211 (1914)

U.S. Supreme Court

Union Lime Co. v. Chicago & N.W. Ry. Co., 233 U.S. 211 (1914)

Union Lime Co. v. Chicago & Northwestern Railway Company

No. 529

Argued March 2, 1914

Decided April 6, 1914

233 U.S. 211


In determining its constitutionality, a state statute must be read in the light of the construction given to it by the state court, and if the state court has held a described use for which property may be taken thereunder to be a public one, this Court will accept its judgment unless it is clearly without ground.

Even though a spur track at the outset may lead only to a single industry, it may constitute a part of the transportation facilities of the common carrier operated under obligations of public service, and as such open to all and devoted to a public use.

There is a clear distinction between spurs operated as a part of the system of a common carrier under public obligation and mere private sidings. The former are limited to public use and may be the basis for exercise of eminent domain.

It is within the power of the state to invest railway corporations with power of eminent domain to acquire land for a spur track necessary for its transportation business and subject to regulation and open alike to all, even though such track at the outset may serve only a single industry which is to defray the cost thereof subject to reimbursement by others subsequently availing of it, and so held as to § 1797-11m, Wisconsin Statutes, providing for construction of spur tracks under conditions specified therein.

152 Wis. 633 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality under the Fourteenth Amendment of a statute of Wisconsin permitting condemnation of right-of-way for spur tracks, are stated in the opinion.

Page 233 U. S. 216

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