Nebraska State Constitution Article X-4

Article X-4


Railways declared public highways; maximum rates; liability not limited.

Railways heretofore constructed, or that may hereafter be constructed, in this state are hereby declared public highways, and shall be free to all persons for the transportation of their persons and property thereon, under such regulations as may be prescribed by law. And the legislature may from time to time pass laws establishing reasonable maximum rates of charges for the transportation of passengers and freight on the different railroads in this state. The liability of railroad corporations as common carriers shall never be limited.


  • Neb. Const. art. XI, sec. 4 (1875);
  • Transferred by Constitutional Convention, 1919-1920, art. X, sec. 4.


Railroads in this state are public highways, and title to right-of-way cannot be divested by adverse possession. Edholm v. Missouri P. R. R. Corp., 114 Neb. 845, 211 N.W. 206 (1926); McLucas v. St. Joseph & G. I. Ry. Co., 67 Neb. 603, 93 N.W. 928 (1903).

Railroad is liable for negligence notwithstanding contract limiting liability. Maucher v. Chicago, R. I. & P. Ry. Co., 100 Neb. 237, 159 N.W. 422 (1916).

This section does not prohibit Legislature from increasing common law liability of common carriers. Smith v. Chicago, St. P., M. & O. Ry. Co., 99 Neb. 719, 157 N.W. 622 (1916).

A side track connecting with main line of railroad will be presumed to be a part of the public system of the company, and a public highway. Roby v. State ex rel. Farmers Grain & Live Stock Co., 76 Neb. 450, 107 N.W. 766 (1906).

Railroads must receive cars of another road when gauge is suitable and cars offered are not defective. Chicago, B. & Q. R. Co. v. Curtis, 51 Neb. 442, 71 N.W. 42 (1897), 66 A.S.R. 456 (1897).

Congress has legislated upon the subject of liability of carriers for loss or damage to interstate shipments, superseding all provisions of state constitutions or laws prohibiting carriers from limiting their liability by contract. C., St. P., M. & O. R. Co. v. Latta, 226 U.S. 519 (1913); C., B. & Q. R. Co. v. Miller, 226 U.S. 513 (1913).

Agreement under which constructor of unloading pit agreed to indemnify railroad which owned trackage over pit against all claims arising out of the construction, maintenance, use, and existence of pit did not contravene this Article. Linden v. Chicago, B. & Q. R.R., 483 F.2d 29 (8th Cir. 1973).