§ 945. The question has often been raised whether a railway company accepting goods marked to be forwarded to a place beyond the terminus of its line, renders itself responsible as common carrier to the ultimate place to which the goods are addressed, or is discharged from liability by a safe delivery to another carrier or to another line in connection with its own.3 It is at least clear that a carrier receiving goods marked for a place beyond his own line is bound to deliver them to the next carrier with reasonable notice of their final destination.4 And in America the rule seems clearly to be established, that the mere acceptance by the railway company of goods addressed to a point beyond their terminus, if unaccompanied by any express agreement or special circumstances importing a different understanding, would only make them responsible for losses occurring while the goods were in their hands, or passing over their own line; and that a safe delivery to another carrier or another line would absolve them from all liability.6 The conbut in respect to which there is no joint interest in the passenger money, and no agreement as to its division, each making its own charge and issuing its separate tickets, making its own profits and responsible solely for its own losses, each company would be liable only for losses on its own branch of the route, although the several companies should combine their means of transportation, and advertise by their agent that the several routes formed a continuous and connected line of travel.1
1 See Hedges v. Hudson River Railroad Co., 6 Robertson, 120; Browning v. Long Island Railroad Co., 2 Daly, 117; Lamb v. Camden & Amboy Railroad Co., 2 Daly, 454; Solomon v. Philadelphia & New York Express Steamboat Co., 2 Daly, 104; McDonald v. Western Railroad Co., 34 N. Y. 497; McMillan v. Michigan Southern Railroad Co., 16 Mich. 79; Buckley v. Great Western Railway Co., 18 Mich. 121; Miller v. Steam Navigation Co., 6 Seld. 431; Fenner v. Buffalo, etc, Railroad Co., 46 Barb. 103.
2 Bartholomew v. St. Louis, etc, Railroad Co., 53 I11. 227 (1870). And see Chicago, etc, Railroad Co. v. Fairclough, 52 I11. 106; Chicago, etc, Railroad v. Scott, 42 I11. 132; Richards v. Michigan Southern Railroad, 20 I11. 404; Porter v. Chicago, etc, Railroad, 20 I11. 407.
3 But the carrier must in this case as well as in others forward the goods by the usual conveyance for their ultimate destination. Brown v. Mott, 22 Ohio St. 149 (1871).
4 Selma, etc. Railroad Co. v. Butts, 43 Ala. 385 (1869).
5 In the case of Hood v. The New York & New Haven Railroad Co., 22 Conn. 1, Ellsworth, J., dissenting from the English rule, said: "We are trary rule, however, obtains in England, and it is held that the receipt of goods so directed creates a primd facie contract to aware that in the cases cited from the English books, it seems to be held that if a railroad company receives at its depot goods marked to be forwarded beyond its own road, and even beyond any other railroad, this is prim facie evidence of a contract to carry the goods to the place of destination. We will not say that in these English cases, since there was no evidence on the part of the defendants to disprove the primÔ facie case, the defendants were not rightly subjected in damages for a loss beyond their, road. Indeed, the judges intimate that there may have been a partnership throughout the route. But if more than this is meant, and that a railroad company, by receiving freight at its depot, became responsible to carry it, as it were, by guaranty or insurance, to the place of destination, at any distance from the road, and that this is an inference which cannot be disproved by showing the facts, as in this case, we are not prepared to give it our assent. We think it an unnatural inference, and a contract not of course to be drawn from the fact that a chartered company of limited extent has taken goods to carry over its road.
"But if we are wrong in this, it does not follow that the doctrine of the English cases, as to freight, is to be applied to passengers; passengers take care of themselves. And even as to freight, were such a question before us, we believe the true doctrine to be this: Where goods are delivered to a carrier, marked for a particular destination, without any directions as to their transportation and delivery, save such as may be inferred from the marks themselves, the carrier is only bound to transport according to the established usage of business in which he is engaged, whether the consignor knew of the usage or not. The carrier becomes a mere forwarder of the goods to the end of his own portion of the route, and is then bound to use due diligence in seeking for, and handing over the goods to, the next carrier."
Van Santvoord v. St. John, 6 Hill, 157, was the case of a box marked "J. Petrie, Little Falls, Herkimer Co.;" it was delivered to the Swiftsure line, and the following receipt given: "Received from St. John on board Ontario, one box merchandise, marked J. Petrie," etc. This was the contract. The usage to deliver to the next carrier was shown. And the construction of this contract was held to be, that the box had been delivered to the carrier with the intention that he should transport it in the usual and customary way, and that the usage of the business must be considered as one of the elements of the contract, and the shipper could not avail himself of his ignorance of this usage, it being his business to inform himself.
In Farmers' Bank v. Champlain Trans. Co., 18 Vt. 140, Kellogg, J., commenting on Van Santvoord v. St. John, says: "The doctrine of that case is in substance this: that where goods are delivered to a carrier marked for a particular place, without any directions as to their transportation and delivery, except such as may be inferred from the marks themselves, the carrier is only bound to transport and deliver them according to the established usage of the business in which he is engaged, whether the consignor knew of such usage or not. With the reasoning and authority of that case carry the goods safely to their final destination, subject to be rebutted by proof of an express or implied contract to the conwe are well satisfied. It is founded in good sense, and is sustainable upon principle."