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Industry Achievement
Charles Melville Hays (2002)
Charles Melville HaysA tragic end to a brilliant Grand Trunk career

Born Rock Island, Illinois 1856.

Charles Melville Hays had a considerable background in railway administration for various American lines. He joined the Wabash Western Railway Company as Assistant General Manager in 1886 and attained the position of General Manager within six months. He gained a considerable reputation for his reorganization of the Wabash Railway and assumed the additional title of Vice-President in 1894. He resigned and accepted the position of General Manager for the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) in Montreal in 1897, then briefly became President of the Southern Pacific and its allied lines. On 1 January 1902 he was appointed Second Vice-President and General Manager of the Grand Trunk Railway. He subsequently became President of subsidiary companies, which included the Central Vermont Railway, the Grand Trunk Pacific and Grand Trunk Western.

Through his astute and aggressive leadership, the GTR expanded from a largely regional railway in Ontario and Quebec, into a far-flung transcontinental system. Would the sad fate of the Grand Trunk and its subsidiaries have been altered had Hays not perished in the sinking of the Titanic in 1912? This is a matter of conjecture that will never be answered. But one thing is for sure: the GTR was better off with Hays than without him.


In Charles Melville Haysí Tracks (The Ottawa Citizen, April 7, 2012)

A Capital Connection (The Ottawa Citizen, April 7, 2012)
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