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UNITED STATES v. ALTON AND SOUTHERN RAILROAD

December 23, 1960

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ALTON AND SOUTHERN RAILROAD, DEFENDANT. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF, V. MANUFACTURERS RAILWAY COMPANY, DEFENDANT. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF, V. TERMINAL RAILROAD ASSOCIATION OF ST. LOUIS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Juergens, District Judge.

This suit was instituted by the United States for statutory penalties under Sections 1 to 16, Title 45 U.S.C.A., commonly referred to as the Safety Appliance Acts.

This opinion is directed to three separate cases, namely: United States of America v. Alton and Southern Railroad, Civil No. 4314; United States of America v. Manufacturers Railway Company, Civil No. 4315; and United States of America v. Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis, Civil No. 4316. These three causes were consolidated for trial.

Civil No. 4314 consists of three causes of action, each relating to inspection of power or train brakes, and is based on Section 9, Title 45 U.S.C.A., as amended, and an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission, dated May 1, 1958, and more specifically on Section 132.13(e)(1) of said order. Cause No. 4315 consists of a single cause of action and is based upon the same section of the statute and Interstate Commerce Commission order as is Civil No. 4314. Civil No. 4316 consists of three causes of action and each relates to the same statute and order as Civil No. 4314 and Civil No. 4315.

At the pre-trial conference the Alton and Southern Railroad stipulated that on January 29, 1959, it operated: its transfer train consisting of 97 cars drawn by diesel locomotive engine No. 32; its transfer train consisting of 40 cars drawn by its diesel locomotive engine No. 39; and its transfer train consisting of 73 cars drawn by its diesel locomotive engine No. 32. The Government stipulated that the movement of the three trains did not exceed 20 miles.

The Manufacturers Railway Company at the pre-trial conference stipulated that on January 29, 1959, it operated its transfer train consisting of 11 cars drawn by its diesel locomotive engines Nos. 209 and 210. The Government stipulated that the movement of the train did not exceed 20 miles.

The Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis at the pre-trial conference stipulated that on January 30, 1959, it operated: its transfer train consisting of 38 cars drawn by its diesel locomotive engine No. 1601; its transfer train consisting of 66 cars drawn by its diesel locomotive engine No. 1602; and its transfer train consisting of 55 cars drawn by its diesel locomotive engines Nos. 569 and 570. The Government stipulated that the movement of the trains did not exceed 20 miles.

At the hearing the parties stipulated that evidence would be presented as to Count II in the Alton and Southern case (Civil No. 4314) and that the evidence in Cause No. 4315 and Cause No. 4316 and each count thereof was substantially the same and should be considered as evidence in each of these causes, except that in the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis case (Civil No. 4316) no inspection of the brakes on any of the cars was made by any employee of the railroad after the service brake pipe reduction was made.

Ralph P. Utter, a safety service agent for the Interstate Commerce Commission, testified that he had witnessed the movement of the Alton and Southern train being pulled by locomotive No. 39 on January 29, 1959. He testified that he observed that the train's air brake system was charged by the locomotive; that the caboose pressure indicated 60 pounds and that a reduction was made; that upon reduction a crew member of the Alton and Southern inspected the brakes on the caboose and the two rear cars only; and that no inspection of the remainder of the cars was made.

This witness further testified that it was possible to charge the brake system to indicate a 60 pound pressure in the caboose, effect a 15 pound reduction and not charge the brakes on each of the cars; that it was possible to cut out the brake system on each of the cars individually since each car has a control valve and that if the individual control valves on any given number of cars were cut out, it would have no effect on the remainder of the train's brake system, but the brakes on the car, or cars, on which the control valve was cut out would not operate. He further testified that you cannot determine if the brakes are operating on each car except by visual inspection.

William T. Conroy, inspector for the Interstate Commerce Commission, testified that he had made detailed studies of the functions of air brakes on railroad cars; that he had acted as investigator for the Interstate Commerce Commission in relation to power brakes and in such capacity had conducted numerous accident investigations; that he had observed tests of various equipment to determine the braking equipment involved in the accidents which he had investigated; and that by these tests it could be determined whether the equipment was working properly. He testified that the train air line from the locomotive to the caboose could be charged without each of the individual car brake systems also being charged; that various conditions might exist which would prevent the brake system on the individual cars from charging; that if the cutout cocks were closed, or the AB valve failed to work properly, or if the auxiliary resevoir were broken, the brakes on the individual car involved would not be charged and the brakes on that car would not operate.

Section 9 of the Safety Appliance Act, as amended, provides as follows:

    "§ 9. Power or train brakes; operation by engineer;
  rules for installation, inspection, maintenance and
  repair
    "Whenever, as provided in sections 1-7 of this
  title, any train is operated with power or train
  brakes not less than 50 per centum of the cars in
  such train shall have their brakes used and operated
  by the engineer of the locomotive drawing such train;
  and all power-braked cars in such train which are
  associated together with said 50 per centum shall
  have their brakes so used and operated; and, to more
  fully carry into effect the objects of said sections,
  the Interstate Commerce Commission may, from time to
  time, after full hearing, increase the minimum
  percentage of cars in any train required to be
  operated with power or train brakes which must have
  their brakes used and operated as aforesaid. One
  hundred and twenty days after the date of enactment
  of the Power or Train Brakes Safety Appliance Act of
  1958, the Interstate Commerce Commission shall adopt
  and put into effect the rules, standards, and
  instructions of the Association of American
  Railroads, adopted in 1925 and revised in 1933, 1934,
  1941, and 1953, with such revisions as may have been
  adopted prior to the enactment of such Act, for the
  installation, inspection, maintenance, and repair of
  all power or train brakes for common carriers engaged
  in interstate commerce by railroad. Such rules,
  standards, and instructions shall thereafter remain
  the rules, standards, and instructions for the
  installation, inspection, maintenance, and repair of
  all power or train brakes unless changed, after
  hearing, by order of the Interstate Commerce
  Commission: Provided, however, That such rules or
  standards or instructions or changes therein shall be
  promulgated solely for the purpose of achieving
  safety. The provisions and requirements of this
  section shall apply to all trains, locomotives,
  tenders, cars, and similar vehicles used, hauled, or
  permitted to be used or hauled, by any railroad
  engaged in interstate commerce. In the execution of
  this section, the Interstate Commerce Commission may
  utilize the services of the Association of American
  Railroads, and may

  avail itself ...

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