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ERIE-LACKAWANNA RAILROAD COMPANY v. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION (11/10/65)

decided: November 10, 1965.

ERIE-LACKAWANNA RAILROAD COMPANY, APPELLANT,
v.
PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION



Appeal from order of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Application Docket No. 91495, in case of Erie-Lackawanna Railroad Company v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

COUNSEL

Cody H. Brooks, with him Warren, Hill, Henkelman & McMenamin, for appellant.

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

Paul S. Foreman, 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 525]

This is an appeal by the railroad from an order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission denying approval of a petition by the railroad to change the status of its station known as Lake Ariel, in Lake Township, Wayne County, Pennsylvania, from that of an agency freight station to that of a non-agency carload only freight station.

This is another in a line of cases where the Commission continues to ignore the decisions of this Court in these freight station cases. In Erie-Lackawanna Railroad Company v. Pa. P.U.C., 202 Pa. Superior Ct. 511, 198 A.2d 383 (1964), we said at page 516: ". . . Our cases stand firmly for the proposition that it is the duty of railroads to seek, and of the Commission to grant, the elimination of services and facilities which are no longer needed or used to any substantial extent, and which can be discontinued without material inconvenience to the public." This is that kind of case.

We also said in Pennsylvania Railroad Company v. Pa. P.U.C., 202 Pa. Superior Ct. 402, at pages 405, 406, 195 A.2d 830, 832 (1963): ". . . A person is not entitled to a personalized service. So far as this record discloses he could secure exactly the same service from Falls Creek by the installation of a telephone. As to the appearance of two witnesses on behalf of the community, it is a well known fact that local pride compels the effort to keep the agency in the community but, although deserving sympathetic consideration in the overall picture, it cannot be one of the factors considered in the public control of rates and services." From this record the feed business protestant is seeking such personalized service.

And again in Pennsylvania Railroad Company v. Pa. P.U.C., 197 Pa. Superior Ct. 382, at page 386, 178 A.2d 856, 858 (1962), we said: "It is apparent that the Coalport station itself does not return sufficient income

[ 206 Pa. Super. Page 526]

    to warrant the retention of an agent at the station and even though it would seem that the total revenue credited to the Coalport station would be sufficient to carry the burden of the agency, the railroad company should be permitted the economy of saving the expense of this agency station where, as indicated above, there are other readily available agency stations, and where the change from an agency station to a non-agency station will cause no inconvenience to the shippers using the facility, nor to the public in general."

The factors to be considered in these cases are (1) the volume and the nature of the business transacted at the stations; (2) proximity and accessibility of other stations; (3) the ratio of cost of maintaining the station agency (including both out-of-pocket and overall expense) to revenues received from the station; (4) the inconvenience to the public resulting from removal of the agent; and (5) the nature of the ...


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