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Rail News: CSX Transportation

CSX co-creator Rice dies in Virginia


On Feb. 4, W. Thomas Rice, the chairman emeritus of Seaboard Coast Line Industries Inc. (SCL) who helped form CSX Corp. more than 25 years ago, died in Richmond, Va., after a brief illness. He was 93.

Rice and former CSX Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Hays Watkins were the driving forces behind the merger of SCL and the Chessie System, which led to the formation of CSX on Nov. 1, 1980. Rice later served on CSX’s original board.

“We have lost a friend and colleague in Tom Rice,” said CSX Chairman, President and CEO Michael Ward in a prepared statement. “Tom’s contributions to CSX and this industry will endure as among the most significant of the 20th Century.”

In 1934, Rice began his railroad career with the Pennsylvania Railroad as a track supervisor. He later served the U.S. Army during World War II, obtaining the rank of major general in the Army Reserve.

Following the war, Rice joined the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad, where he became president in 1955. Two years later, Rice was appointed president of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Co. (ACL); in 1967, he became president and director of SCL after ACL merged with the Seaboard Air Line Railroads. Rice later served as chairman of SCL and The Family Lines, the combined name for SCL, the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co. and other railroads.

In 1987, CSX Transportation renamed an 850-acre Waycross, Ga., terminal Rice Yard to honor the chairman emeritus who helped develop the terminal, which currently handles more than 1 million rail cars annually.

An avid golfer, Rice was a member of Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia for 43 years and held the distinction of being the oldest playing member.

“With Tom’s death, a bright light has gone out of the lives of all of us who knew that good and great man,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary and former CSX CEO John Snow. “At our last meeting only a few weeks ago, he talked with me about his fond hope that we would walk the fairways together again soon, and it saddens me that it cannot happen now.”

Preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Jaqueline, and a son, Rice is survived by a daughter, seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets W. Thomas Rice Scholarship Fund or Westminster Canterbury Fellowship Fund in Richmond.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/7/2006