At a dedication ceremony Oct. 4, Norfolk Southern named its new yard office building in Williamson, W. Va., after the late John William Fox, Jr., who retired from NS as senior vice president coal services in 2003 after a 35-year career with the company.
Fox, who died in January 2011, headed the railroad’s coal group for seven years, during which he has been credited with improving revenues, customer service and cost controls. Fox came from a railroad family. He began his career as an assistant trainmaster for Norfolk and Western Railway in 1969. By 1993, he was general manager of NS’ eastern region, when he joined the coal marketing department as assistant vice president sales and service.
“Bill was a railroader, respected not only by his fellow employees but by customers as well,” said Danny Smith, senior vice president coal marketing. “He particularly had an affection for the Pocahontas Division and the coal business, so it is very fitting to name a building for him at Williamson.”
The J. W. Fox, Jr. Building is three stories and 9,500 sq. ft. It includes a parking garage, locker rooms, a break room, a conference and training room and offices for management personnel. A 26-foot high atrium on the third floor allows natural light into the building.
The Williamson Yard has been a critical linchpin in NS’ coal business for more than 100 years. It handles about 45 trains a day, most of which are coal trains. The yard also has repair yards, engine service buildings and machine shops that keep engines and cars functioning safely and efficiently. The roundhouse and turntable is one of the few operating roundhouses left in the U.S. and is still used to service freight cars. NS employs about 270 people at the yard.