The Talyllyn Railway is sad to announce the death on 14 October 2019 of its long-time Secretary, President and Vice-President, Richard Hope OBE at the age of 85.
Richard was also the well known in wider railway circles as the editor of the Railway Gazette for many years, and made frequent television appearances to comment on railway matters.
Richard joined the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society in 1955 and volunteered on outdoor work until ill-health prevented him from continuing a few years ago. He was a member of the Council of the Preservation Society from 1960 to 2002 acting as the Company and Society Secretary for thirty years from 1966 to 1996. Between 1996 and 2011 he was a Director of the Railway Company and also held the office of President of the Preservation Society from 2006 to 2014.
A chartered engineer he worked in the 1950s for British Railways on the Southend electrification. Richard then joined the Railway Gazette, the magazine for professional railway management, first as assistant editor and then as editor. This was his dream job and he travelled much of the world visiting railways and their management until his retirement.
He and his wife Audrey had two children, Colin and Caroline. They enjoyed walking and did many long distance walks over the years including an annual visit to Scotland. Sadly Audrey died in 2016 and in recent years Richard suffered from ill-health which increasingly restricted his activities.
Current Chairman of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society Council, Ian Drummond, comments:
‘With the death of Richard the Railway has lost another great servant. He and his wife Audrey put in a huge amount of time and effort in support of the line over the years and his contribution to the success of the Railway cannot be measured. My first memory of Richard came on a dark night in 1977. We were engaged in an overnight track-laying session at Rhydyronen and as a young volunteer I was charged with holding track-spikes while Richard wielded a sledgehammer. Fortunately his prowess with the hammer matched his talents elsewhere and the work was done swiftly and without incident.
Richard was always approachable, kind and thoughtful, his advice was often sought after his retirement from official roles and he gave of himself to the Railway selflessly. Our thoughts are with Colin and Caroline and all the family. He will be missed by many.’
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