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MONONGAHELA CONNECTING RAILROAD COMPANY v. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION (06/17/65)

decided: June 17, 1965.

MONONGAHELA CONNECTING RAILROAD COMPANY, APPELLANT,
v.
PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION



Appeal from order of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, No. 17767, in case of The Monongahela Connecting Railroad Company v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

COUNSEL

McCook Miller, with him Joseph A. Katarincic, and Kirkpatrick, Pomeroy, Lockhart & Johnson, for appellant.

Louis J. Carter, Assistant Counsel, with him Joseph C. Bruno, Chief Counsel, for Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, appellee.

Thomas Park Shearer, with him Brandon, Shearer & Flaherty, for intervenors.

Ervin, P. J., Wright, Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, and Hoffman, JJ. (Flood, J., absent). Opinion by Watkins, J.

Author: Watkins

[ 206 Pa. Super. Page 19]

In this appeal from an order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission the appellant, The Monongahela Connecting Railroad Company, complains that the order was not supported by substantial evidence; and that the order would impair the ability of the appellant to serve its principal shipper, the Pittsburgh Works of Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation.

This case began with a complaint to the Public Utility Commission filed by the Co-Operative Legislative Committee, Railroad Brotherhoods in the State of Pennsylvania and George W. Legge, a trainman employee of the appellant, seeking relief from an alleged unsafe condition resulting from the operation of railroad movements by the appellant over the hot metal bridge in the City of Pittsburgh. The commission granted relief in part and this appeal followed. The brotherhoods were permitted to intervene.

The complaint was filed under the provisions of Art. IV, §§ 401, 413 of the Public Utility Law, Act of May 28, 1937, P. L. 1053, 66 PS § 1101 et seq. As we said in Erie-Lackawanna Railroad Company v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, 205 Pa. Superior Ct. 291,

[ 206 Pa. Super. Page 20208]

A.2d 908 (1965), decided April 13, 1965, "At the outset it should be noted that after years of railroad regulation by the commission they have developed a staff of technicians for their counsel and advice on matters that have to do with railroad operation in the safety field, so that they are able to take notice of what may be obvious hazards to the personnel and the public." Their orders in regard to safety problems must therefore be entitled to great weight by the reviewing court. The commission is given the power and jurisdiction to grant relief to railroad employees whose personal safety is jeopardized by conditions under which they work. Pa. Railroad Co. v. Pa. P.U.C., 202 Pa. Superior Ct. 114, 195 A.2d 162 (1963); Reading Co. v. Pa. P.U.C., 188 Pa. Superior Ct. 146, 146 A.2d 746 (1958). The only question before us is whether the order was arbitrary and unreasonable; that the commission abused its administrative discretion; and that the order was not supported by competent and probative evidence.

The hot metal bridge is located near 29th Street, Pittsburgh and crosses certain mill and rail facilities on both the north and south banks of the Monongahela River as well as the river itself. It is a single track bridge, 1200 feet in length and has a grade in excess of two (2%) per cent. For more than twenty-five years the railroad has been operating two movements of freight over the bridge. The two movements are known as the hot metal and Talbot movements. The bridge connects the blast furnaces of Jones & Laughlin on the north side of the river with the open hearth furnaces on the south side of the river.

The hot metal movement is made up on the north side where individual ladle cars are loaded with hot metal at the blast furnaces. They are assembled in a train consisting of a diesel locomotive, four ladle ...


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