Tuesday, August 09, 2016

So what does the “X” in “CSX” really mean?

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So what does the “X” in “CSX” really mean?

Last December, in my From the Editor magazine column (“Time to choose a name,” December 2015), I attempted to explain how CSX was named.

I looked it up on Wikipedia, which I’ve found to be a reliable source. Here’s what I found, and quoted:

CSX Intermodal Train“The name came about during merger talks between Chessie System, Inc. and Seaboard System Railroad, Inc., commonly called Chessie and Seaboard. The company chairmen said it was important for the new name to include neither of those names because it was a partnership. Employees were asked for suggestions, most of which consisted of combinations of the initials. At the same time a temporary shorthand name was needed for discussions with the Interstate Commerce Commission. CSC was chosen but belonged to a trucking company in Virginia. CSM (for Chessie-Seaboard Merger) was also taken. The lawyers decided to use CSX, and the name stuck. In the public announcement, it was said that ‘CSX is singularly appropriate. C can stand for Chessie, S for Seaboard, and X actually has no meaning. But X could be used as a short term for the word Express, taking off the E, giving out Xpress, putting the X in use. T had to be added to CSX when used as a reporting mark because reporting marks that end in X mean that the car is owned by a leasing company or private car owner.’”

Turns out Wikipedia (and I, by default) are only partially correct. My thanks to Ken Charron, Vice President–Commercial Counsel, Genesee & Wyoming Railroad Services, Inc., for educating and enlightening me. It’s well worth sharing:

I noticed in your editorial from the December 2015 issue of Railway Age that you struggled to understand the meaning of all three letters in “CSX.” After getting the obvious references in the first two letters, you acknowledged that “[t]he lawyers decided to use CSX…”, and so I wanted to tell you that my father, Edward Charron, was one of those lawyers in-house at Seaboard Coast Line that worked on the merger, and I remember him telling me at the time (and for many years after) that, “the ‘C’ in ‘CSX’ stood for ‘Chessie’, the ‘S’ for ‘Seaboard’ and the ‘X’ was for ‘Consolidated.’” Thus, “CSX” meant “Chessie Seaboard Consolidated” to reflect that a true merger had taken place. I hope that this is helpful if the issue ever arises again.

So, now we all (well, at least anyone reading this) know what the acronym “CSX” really stands for.

Thank you for allowing me to, as my late colleague and friend Luther S. Miller often told me, “make the obvious less obscure.”






William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

With Railway Age since 1992, William C. Vantuono has broadened and deepened the magazine's coverage of the technological revolution that is so swiftly changing the industry. He has also strengthened Railway Age’s leadership position in industry affairs with the conferences he conducts, among them Next-Generation Train Control, Light Rail, and Rail Insights. He is the author or co-author or editor of several books, among them All About Railroading; John Armstrong’s The Railroad: What It Is, What It Does; Railway Age’s Comprehensive Railroad Dictionary; and Planning, Engineering, and Operating Light Rail, With Applications in New Jersey.

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