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LOUISVILLE & JEFFERSONVILLE BRIDGE COMPANY v. UNITED STATES

April 21, 1919

LOUISVILLE & JEFFERSONVILLE BRIDGE COMPANY
v.
UNITED STATES



CERTIFICATE FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT

White, McKenna, Holmes, Day, Van Devanter, Pitney, McReynolds, Brandeis, Clarke

Author: Clarke

[ 249 U.S. Page 535]

 MR. JUSTICE CLARKE delivered the opinion of the court.

The Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit certifies to this court for answer the question, whether the Safety Appliance Act, as amended, requires that 85 per cent. of the train brakes shall be coupled so as to be under engine control when making the transfer of twenty-six cars, in a movement which is described in the court's certificate.

The pertinent part of the original Act approved March 2, 1893, c. 196, 27 Stat. 531, reads:

[ 249 U.S. Page 536]

     "It shall be unlawful for any common carrier engaged in interstate commerce by railroad to use on its line any locomotive engine in moving interstate traffic not equipped with a power driving-wheel brake and appliances for operating the train-brake system or, to run any train in such traffic. . . that has not a sufficient number of cars in it so equipped with power or train brakes that the engineer on the locomotive drawing such train can control its speed without requiring brakemen to use the common hand brake for that purpose."

And the relevant part of the amendment, approved March 2, 1903, c. 976, 32 Stat. 943, is:

"And the provisions and requirements hereof and of said Acts relating to train brakes . . . shall be held to apply to all trains . . . used on any railroad engaged in interstate commerce. "

Section 2 of the amendment provides that when any train is operated with power or train brakes not less than 50 per cent. of the cars in such train shall have their brakes used and operated by the engineer of the locomotive, etc. Authority was given the Interstate Commerce Commission to increase the percentage of cars in any train which must have their brakes so used and operated and in 1910 the Commission increased it to 85 per cent.

The essential facts, somewhat condensed, from the statement of the Circuit Court of Appeals are:

The Bridge Company, a common carrier engaged in interstate commerce, operates a large terminal yard at Louisville, Kentucky, which constitutes the joint terminal of the Big Four and the Chesapeake & Ohio systems of railway. The yard is 1800 feet in length, 700 feet in width, and consists of two main tracks, with from fifteen to twenty-five approximately ...


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