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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Hays T. Watkins Passes

Date: 07/31/22 15:32
Hays T. Watkins Passes
Author: Appalachianrails

From the Facebook page of the C&O Historical Society

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of the legendary Hays T. Watkins, Jr., our friend for many decades and our biggest champion since our founding in 1969.  His support of the C&O Historical Society's mission led to the creation of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Archive we administer today.  Over the years, his actions for C&OHS directly supported our ability to preserve and publish the history he not only cherished, but lived throughout his career.

Hays, as his autobiography's title encouraged us and others to call him, was elected by the C&O Railway board to be President and CEO of the combined C&O and B&O.  The Kentucky native later became the first president of CSX Transportation in 1980.  People who reach lofty positions, as Hays did, often receive titles and honorary titles.  However, if Hays Watkins could be summed up in one word, the simple title of Railroader would be the one we should use most often.

A gentleman with a genuine, down-to-earth demeanor, and a character of the highest integrity, Hays never lost interest in C&O Historical Society news, publications, and current projects.  American railroading, and the railroad historical community, has lost a titan.  The C&O Historical Society's 2,400 members worldwide have lost a friend the likes of which we'll never see again."

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/31/22 15:33 by Appalachianrails.

Date: 07/31/22 16:30
Re: Hays T. Watkins Passes
Author: engineerinvirginia

A railroad man to the core and a railroad executive that NONE has ever equalled. 

Date: 07/31/22 19:08
Re: Hays T. Watkins Passes
Author: ironmtn

Such sad news, indeed. I have long had high regard for Hays Watkins' career and achievements as one of the top railroad executives of our time. He brought a top-notch set of skills to all of the roles he performed in his career, and was a key participant in molding the railroad map of today into its form. And by all accounts, he did it with both a true gentleman's class, as well as great savvy and skill. 

Against the backdrop of his active years this was notable enough. But particularly against the coarseness and deep polarization of our times in so many arenas, his combination of knowledge, skill and class are all the more notable. An era passes with him, all too sadly. Let us hope that someday others like him may follow, to the good of us all.

Sincere condolences to family, friends and his many railroad colleagues.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/31/22 19:11 by ironmtn.

Date: 07/31/22 20:53
Re: Hays T. Watkins Passes
Author: TAW

From one of my 2014 posts:

Barr yard on second trick was an especially busy place, making the connections from the west to the east trains in a matter of hours. Like everywhere else on B&OCT, the pressure was always on and sometimes people could be a little uh..mmm...exasperated.

I worked closely with the Chief Clerk all evening, keeping running count of cars and tons as the connections arrived. One night he called to tell me about an experience he just had. He heard the Eastbound clerk answer the phone, say "Call the Chief Clerk!" and slam the phone down. His phone rang, he answered, and the voice on the other end said "This is Hays Watkins. I apologize for calling the wrong guy. I know you guys are busy. Can you help me with this car? I need to find out if it will make the New Yorker"


Date: 07/31/22 22:35
Re: Hays T. Watkins Passes
Author: krm152

Mr. Watkins passed away on this past Friday, July 29, at the age of 96.  Below is a link to his obituary:

Date: 08/01/22 13:56
Re: Hays T. Watkins Passes
Author: Seventyfive

I too am saddened to learn that Mr. Watkins has passed away.  In the 70's I had the privilege of working for
the B&OCT while he was President and CEO.  Every comment I ever heard about him was very positive.
The stories written by the TO members above support that.  I must wonder what he thought of what is now
going on with his railroad and the other major carriers.

In a few days I will post a short story on Railroads' Nostalgia about another incident on the B&OCT involving
Mr. Watkins much different that the excellent one TAW posted above.

Date: 08/01/22 16:03
Re: Hays T. Watkins Passes
Author: bigsavage

One of Mr. Watkins finest achievements, IMO.

Date: 08/07/22 18:39
Re: Hays T. Watkins Passes
Author: IC1038west

A genuine leader. Thank you for putting us in the loop. Made a lot of good people better. Vintage quality.

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