Publication: The Telegrapher
New York, NY, United States
The Right of Way for Telegraph Lines on
AN account was published in THE TELEGRAPHER of Oct. 21 of a temporary injunction obtained by the Atlantic and Pacific Telegraph Company, restraining the Western Union Telegraph Company and the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Company from interfering with the line of the plaintiff erected on the route of the railroad company. In order to settle the whole question of the right of a telegraph company, under what is termed the "National Telegraph Act" of 1866, to locate its poles and wires upon the route of a railroad company, which is also a post route, actions have been commenced to condemn the right of way for the lines of the Atlantic and Pacific Telegraph Company along the C., R. I., and P. R. R., and also along a part of the Kansas City, Council Bluffs and St. Joseph R. R.
On the morning of the 19th inst. the A. & P. Co. served notices on the first named road at Davenport, Iowa, and Pacific R. R. Company, that they would proceed to condemn a right of way for their telegraph line along the railroad company's right of way, and the railroad company presented to Judge Hayes a bill for an injunction against the telegraph company to restrain such condemnation and to restrain the projected entry upon the right of way of the railroad. Judge Hayes granted the injunction. This week the Atlantic and Pacific Telegraph Company also condemned a right of way along a part of the Kansas City, Council Bluffs and St. Joseph Railroad in Pottawatamie county, and were proceeding to condemn a right of way in Fremont and Mills counties, Iowa. To-day application was made by that railroad company to Judge Reed, of the District Court for the Council Bluffs district, for an injunction, after notice to the telegraph company, to restrain further condemnation, and to restrain the telegraph company from using the ground already condemned, and after a hearing Judge Reed granted the injunction asked for.
On Saturday, the 21st inst., a petition was filed in the Circuit Court or Cook County, Illinois, at Chicago, by the Atlantic and Pacific Telegraph Company against the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad asking to be allowed to construct a telegraph line along the railroad track. The company states that it owns and operates divers lines of telegraph in Illinois, also across Iowa and along the Union and Central Pacific railroads to San Francisco. That this line between Chicago and California is largely and continuously employed by the officers of the United States in postal and military business of the government and by private business to such an extent, in fact, that it is frequently beyond the capacity of the lines to adequately despatch all the business offered, and that in case of interruption all telegraphic intercourse would be delayed and impeded until it could be repaired. For such reasons the company is desirous to reconstruct the lines in Illinois and Iowa, and to increase its use by placing other poles and wires and replanting the poles now in use. The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Company now operates a line of road from Chicago to Rock Island, and owns a right of way between such termini 100 feet wide, through which the Western Union Telegraph Company has an easement along one side of the said right of way; that the other side is unoccupied, and would furnish a valuable route for the petitioner; that the railroad is, moreover, a post road of the United States by action of Congress, and the petitioner claims the right to be allowed to place poles along such road by virtue of its charter and the Act of Congress on paying due compensation therefor, even though the line would be in direct competition with its powerful rival, the Western Union Telegraph Company. The petitioning company therefore asks that it be allowed an easement on the extreme boundary of the railroad company's right of way along the entire line on paying whatever damages may be incurred by such easement.
An interesting legal question is presented in these proceedings, which, it is understood, the Atlantic and Pacific Company propose to have finally judicially settled as to the rights which telegraph companies have to locate lines upon railroad property or rights of way. This question should be decided, as until it is there will be constant troubles arising from the conflicting claims made by the different parties in interest. If it shall be found that railroads are subject to condemnation of their rights of way for telegraphic purposes, of course the exclusive contracts which have been entered into between railroad and telegraph companies are of no value, so far as they serve to exclude other companies from the joint use of the property.
|Date completed:||January 13, 2006 by: Elton Gish;|