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Southern Railway Co. v. North Carolina, 376 U.S. 93 (1964)

Southern Railway Co. v. North Carolina

No. 74

Argued January 14-15, 1964

Decided February 17, 1964*

376 U.S. 93


The Interstate Commerce Commission, under §§ 13a(2) of the Interstate Commerce Act, authorized appellant railway company to discontinue two intrastate passenger trains, which provided the last remaining railway passenger service between two cities, having found that the service constituted an undue burden on interstate commerce and that the present or future public convenience and necessity permitted discontinuance of the service. A three-judge District Court set aside the Commission's order on the ground that the Commission had applied erroneous legal standards by not taking proper account of the freight profits on the line and the overall prosperity of the carrier.


1. Under § 13a(2), the Commission need not give effect to the prosperity of the intrastate operations of the carrier as a whole or any particular segment thereof in determining whether the operation of a specific intrastate train or service imposes an unjust or undue burden on interstate commerce. P. 376 U. S. 104.

2. The Commission may properly give varying weights to the overall prosperity of the carrier in different situations, balancing public convenience and necessity against undue burdens on interstate commerce. Colorado v. United States, 271 U. S. 153. Where the demands of public convenience and necessity are slight, as in this case, it is proper under § 13a(2) for the Commission, in determining the existence of a burden on interstate commerce, to give little weight to the carrier's overall prosperity. Pp. 376 U. S. 104-105.

210 F.Supp. 675, reversed.

Page 376 U. S. 94

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