Nigel Harris, Managing Editor, RAIL
We shall not see Dick Hardy’s like again. There are lots of people with expert knowledge about railways, locomotives and railway people, and with plenty of experience of all three - but Dick Hardy was special.
It didn’t matter whether you’d known Dick for 15 minutes or 50 years, he had the gift of making you feel he was intensely interested in whatever was important to you. He was an attentive listener - and if you’d any sense, when you stopped speaking you pinned your own ears back because you’d know that you were about to learn something. Dick talked to you as an equal. I first met Dick in 1982, when I was the newly appointed Assistant Editor of Steam
World. I was overawed. I’d read Dick’s first book of memoirs, Steam in the Blood, when I was in my early teens. An Ian Allan book which cost me £2.50, I think! I couldn’t put it down and I have read it many times since, learning something new every time as my own experience increases.
As Editor and then Consultant Editor of Steam World in the 1990s, we published a longrunning popular series of further reminiscences.
“C’mon Dick, enough trains have gone under the bridge for you to tell the really interesting stories you felt you couldn’t tell in your books?” The very long series that followed was enormously successful.
We both laughed many times over an article of Dick’s I published in Steam Days, which I edited for Ian Allan in the 1980s. As a headline, I used an expression which one of his men had yelled at him across the shed front. “Ere Guv, I bleedin’ want you!” It caused consternation at Ian Allan, but the headline was eventually used.
I told Dick about this. He smiled, gave that deep brown slow baritone chuckle his friends all knew so well, then replied: “That’s funny Nigel, if only they knew. He didn’t really say ‘bleedin’ you know!”
Rightaway Dick. And thanks for all you did.