Born in 1930, Art Hanford began his railroad career as a darkroom technician for the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Railway in 1953. While with the C&O, he earned a reputation as a quality photographer and writer. He was a trusted employee of Cyrus Eaton, the C&O Board Chairman at the time, and accompanied him on many trips to The Greenbrier Resort, then owned by the railroad, in White Sulfur Springs, WV.

In 1958 he went to work for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) as photographer-reporter and continued to earn credit for his work on the union’s publications. During this time, Art spent many years working with the BLE Grand Chief, Guy Brown. At that time, the BLE had over 60,000 members.


Early in 1967, Art moved to Chicago as managing editor of Railway Purchasing & Stores, one of several magazines, including Railway Age, published by Simmons Boardman.

Later that same year, Art accepted a position back in Ohio from the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen as Assistant Editor of Trainman News, the official BRT member publication. Charles Luna was president at the time.

In 1969, the BRT merged with three other rail unions to form the United Transportation Union, where Luna was named the new union’s president. In 1971, Al Chesser became Luna’s successor as president of the UTU until 1979, who was then followed by Fred Hardin (until 1991).

Art Hanford retired in 1990, with his last held position being the UTU’s Director of Internal Communications. At that time, the union had approximately 90,000 members.

Among the most memorable trips for Art were those traveling with engineers on steam locomotives, which were fast disappearing. He was also assigned to take pictures of Queen Elizabeth II in 1959 on a Royal train trip through Canada. Other celebrities he photographed in his career were Ben Hogan while playing in a golf tournament at the Greenbrier.

Art wrote several books after he retired, including a yet-to-be-published autobiography titled “Writing on the Railroad.” Art’s son, Guy Hanford, indicated that the family plans to finish publishing the book in honor of their father.

Art Hanford died peacefully surrounded by his family on Friday, March 15, 2019. He is survived by his wife Janice of 66 years.

Retired former General Chairperson Robert E. Swert, 89, of Port Charlotte, Fla. and formerly of West Chester, Pa. died August 20, 2015, in Port Charlotte.

After serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps, Swert hired out as a brakeman with the New York Central Railroad. Swert began his rail career as a member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen (BRT), and later became a member of United Transportation Union (UTU) Local 2 in Toledo, Ohio.

Swert served on the BRT Health and Welfare Committee which negotiated the first national health and welfare plan for operating employees.

Later, Swert moved to the management side as director of labor relations and eventually retired as vice president of Conrail Labor Relations. Although Swert moved into management, he kept his union membership with the UTU and paid full dues up until his retirement.

Swert is survived by his wife Connie, one daughter, two stepdaughters, two grandchildren, four step-grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, two sisters and one brother. Swert was preceded in death by his first wife Rexine and his parents.

Swert’s brother is former UTU Assistant President Lloyd “Corky” Swert.

A graveside military service with military honors is planned for 11 a.m., Saturday, August 29, at Toledo Memorial Park, Sylvania, Ohio. Memorial contributions may be made in lieu of flowers to The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 269, Alexandria, VA 22314, or to Tidewell Hospice Inc., 5955 Rand Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34238.

Click here to view Swert’s obituary or to leave condolences for the family.