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Richard Bush | 223 project

Richard Bush
April 2017

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It’s not often the shop has a volunteer with a college degree in music, played sax with the world famous Stan Kenton band and loves getting his hands dirty. Richard has had a love affair with trains since he was five and although no one in his family was ever associated with trains, Richard is setting an example. Ever since he saw the 223 on display in SLC, he wanted to find out how the music of the “choo” was made in choo-choo. As a child he also rode the train at Lagoon, walked the tunnels from the Union Station under the tracks that came up on the platforms, and rode the Bamberger trolleys. When Richard became a professional musician, he recognized the difference between a concerto, the music of the spheres and the very distinctive music of a steam locomotive. He loved the sound of steam being released, relished standing in its stream, knew the rhythm of steel wheels clacking along the tracks and the warm but blunt sound of the whistle announcing arrival, departure and a hundred other messages. His music from the woodwinds he played is different than the noon whistle at the Union Station but he loves them both for different reasons.
When Richard heard our own Lee Witten lecture on the rebuild of the 223, he was hooked, and offered to do anything to be close to the sounds, smells and grime of the shop. Richard brings his experience as a wind instrument repair man to the 223 from when he worked to bring back the sounds of a broken bassoon and now to bringing back the 223. He has a sense of history and how the steam engine contributed to the building of America fits in nicely with his sense of repairing either a bassoon or a set of steam engine breaks.