At a dedication ceremony here Nov. 10, Norfolk Southern named its rail welding facility after the late Hubert L. Rose, who retired from Norfolk Southern as senior assistant vice president maintenance of way and structures and planning in 1991, after a 43-year career with the company.
Rose, who died in January 2012, headed the railroad’s maintenance of way group for 15 years, during which he led the railroad in its transition from laying jointed rail, which uses bolts to connect 39- or 78-foot sections of track, to installing continuous welded rail, in which 1,440-foot sections of rail are welded together to form one continuous track. Continuous welded rail is stronger, provides a smoother ride, needs less maintenance, and allows trains to travel at higher speeds.
A native of Kenly, N.C., Rose graduated from North Carolina State University and in 1948 joined Southern Railway as a surveyor. In 1971, he was named chief engineer, and in 1976, he was promoted to assistant vice president of maintenance of way and structures, the position he held until his retirement.
At the dedication, NS CEO Wick Moorman said, “Hubert Rose was an industry leader in the maintenance of rail infrastructure, and he is the person most identified with helping Norfolk Southern take advantage of the benefits of continuous welded rail, saving millions of dollars in maintenance costs and preventing derailments. Putting his name on the building is a fitting thank-you on behalf of our employees and friends everywhere.”
Since opening in 1958, the Atlanta rail fabrication plant has been manufacturing railroad track for Norfolk Southern. The complex stretches over 30 acres and includes plants for rail welding, rail renewal, switch panels, track panels, and rail reclamation. The rail welding and rewelding plants turn out new quarter-mile strands of rail for use on mainline tracks and reconditioned rail for use on secondary lines and industrial sidings.
Norfolk Southern Corporation is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal and industrial products.
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