Re: SAD NEWS
Author: C.J. Hardman
Date: 08-14-2009 - 21:46
What a wonderful man, what a terrible loss.
I met Richard Hamilton with my husband years ago out at the Poway Midland Railroad. At the time I'd just hired out as a fr8 cndr with Santa Fe, soon to become BNSF. I had a blast co-hosting the "Let's Talk Trains" show with Richard. The depth of the show always held my interest--What a way to expand my horizons!
We covered everything from freight to passenger, big steam to model trains, freight business with FRA and AAR guests to private car operators, short-line operators, photographers, model train entheusiasts, and even Union matters with UTU and BLE speakers. No topic was too small (light rail, special private rail trips, etc), no issue too off bounds (union infighting, "Moon Amtrak").
When I went over to Amtrak, my hours made it impossible to continue as a co-host, although I did enjoy calling in from time to time, and listening to the show. This show was Richard'
s baby, and he worked so hard to make it shine!
Often I am struck by the apathy or disgust shown by working fails toward, ech, ugh, oh my, ::Foamers::
Rail fans are the appreciative icing on the cake, the thing that reminds me in the course of daily duties that my craft is humble, important, worthwhile... and among the young boys and girls, the hope that compassion for and appreciation of AND DESIRE TO PERHAPS SOMEDAY JOIN our working crafts ---(Trainmen, Enginemen, On-Board Attendents, Carmen, Deisel Mechanics, Dispatchers, Signalmen, Logistics Engineers, Maintenence of Way Folks, Station Agents, Railroad Police & Security, Trolley Motormen, Chefs and Waiters, Trainmasters, Reservation Desk Folks, Red Caps, connecting Bus Drivers and the diligent managers who apply themselves in a sincere, caring and fair manner to customer and employee alike, et. al)--- is in and of itself worthy of consideration.
Richard Hamilton was a Railroader's Railfan. A true-to-the-bone practical :::FOAMER::: who was more concerened with whether our nation had a working transit system and what was happening in freight infrastructure than what the serial number on the bolt holding down the far right corner of the toilet in the locomotive happened to be. He knew how to, and did operate full-sized antique railroad equipment, representative of our varied crafts' history and resplendent in our culture. He was kindly to friend and stranger alike. He was quick with a joke, and too fast to hide his own health problems. Richard was a goodly man who lived the life he wished in the face of difficulties many of us face, and most of us are gifted not to face. He did not hide from the light.
Folks, this man had a phenomenal sense of humor and a benevolent golden heart. It was nice to be around another "kid" when the Southpark movie came out...I don't know which of us was sicker with laughter and tears when the second song hit. As for uncles, Richard was "Uncle Richard" to our child and I'm certain even more so the nieces and nephews of his family. We truely enjoyed outings to Dana point with Richard, his sister and niece. Wonderful people, all!
Richard was a Vietnam Veteran. Richard was a Son. Richard was a Brother. Richard was an Uncle. Richard was a Husband (to someone else, really I wouldn't be so lucky ;) )Richard was a friend, buddy, pal. Richard was the kindly voice reminding you to keep your hands and feet inside the Trolley or Coach Car at Poway Midland Railway. Richard was the Motorman. Richard was the founder of the "LET'S TALK TRAINS SHOW". Richard was the fellow with the waxed moustache who always had a kind word for everyone.
That is the Richard Hamilton I know. That is the Richard Hamilton who lives in my heart and mind.
"CJ" Hardman :)