Last Runs

Congratulations, Brother Harvey!

The BLET's Executive Committee thank Brother Bob Harvey for his many years of dedicated service to the Brotherhood. From left: First Vice President Ed Rodzwicz; Brother Harvey; National President Don Hahs; and National Secretary-Treasurer Bill Walpert.


The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen congratulates Robert A. Harvey on his retirement after many years of dedicated and professional service to the organization. Brother Harvey retired officially on January 1, 2006.

A pioneer in the field of regulatory research for a labor organization, Brother Harvey was hired full-time after the BLE's 1996 convention. Working out of the BLET's Washington, D.C., office during the past nine years, he has spent countless hours participating in more than 15 Rail Safety Advisory Committees (RSACs), helping to develop rules and regulations that impact the working conditions of locomotive engineers and trainmen. Bob has also testified on behalf of the BLET at numerous public hearings.

"Bob has an impeccable reputation in D.C., and his integrity has been a positive reflection upon the Brotherhood these past nine years," said BLET Vice President and National Legislative Representative Raymond Holmes.

Brother Harveys work behind the scenes has been noticed by many in the BLET.

"We appreciate his accomplishments - often conducted behind the scenes without much fanfare - on issues of great importance to the jobs of locomotive engineers and trainmen, always relying on his first-hand experience as a locomotive engineer to keep the safety of BLET members at the forefront at all times," said BLET National President Don M. Hahs. "Thank you, Bob, for your hard work and dedication over the years, and your attention to detail, which has helped make the rail industry a safer place to work."

Brother Harvey leaves behind an unparalleled legacy of hard work and devotion to the Brotherhood and the railroad industry. His history of exemplary service to the BLET will be missed by all.

Gowan's career began in 1946

Brother T.J. Gowan of BLET Division 192 (El Paso, Texas) made his last run on November 18, 2004 on a road switcher in El Paso.

Brother Gowan followed in his father's footsteps. He began his railroad career as a clerk for the Southern Pacific Railroad on September 3, 1946 in El Paso. He went firing in August 1950 and was promoted to the position of locomotive engineer on December 16, 1960. He joined BLE Division 591 on July 1, 1958. Brother Gowan's father, William T. Gowan, hired out in 1911 as a switchman and, upon his return from service in the Army in 1920, worked as an operator/agent for the Santa Fe Railroad.

During his years of membership in the BLE and the BLET, Brother Gowan served the organization in many capacities. He was the Secretary-Treasurer for Division 591 in the 1960s and served as Local Chairman from 1972-1991. He also served as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Southern Pacific Western Lines General Committee of Adjustment.

Brother Gowan has four children, Tommy, Lisa, Greg and Debbie, and nine grandchildren.

He lives at: 8513 Basil Ct., El Paso, Texas 79925.

He's worked everywhere, man

Brother David A. Heath of BLET Division 357 (Minneapolis, Minn.) made his last run as a yard conductor on Dec. 21, 2004, in Canadian Pacific's St. Paul Yard.

Heath began his railroad career in 1964 as a switchman on the Rock Island lines in Ottawa, Ill. During his railroad career, he worked for several railroads due to sales and consolidations. He quotes Johnny Cash to explain the wide variety of places he has worded throughout his 40-year career: "I've been everywhere, man."

He joined the BLE in 1998 after many years as a member of other organizations. Brother Heath noted that when he hired out in 1964, he was paid $24.64 for eight hours of work. At the time of his Last Run, he earned $172 for eight hours of work.

Brother Heath and his wife, Cheryl, were married on Nov. 21, 1964. The couple has a son, Tracy; two daughters, Kari and Jamie; and two grandchildren.

During his retirement, Brother Heath plans to "see the sights, visit friends, be with my family and enjoy my grandchildren." He also enjoys fishing and old cars.

"I've met good people and bad during my career," said Brother Heath. "I started out on a 6:30 a.m. job and ended on a 10:30 p.m. job. All and all, 30 years at 55 years of age should be enough for those in train service. I've worked enough hours to be 65 years old already.

"Hopefully, the BLET and Teamsters can provide rail workers with better pay, health insurance and earlier retirements."

Upon retirement, Brother Heath was presented with two clocks. One is a standard issue CP Rail retirement clock and the other is a Stormy Kromer clock presented to him by coworkers.

The Heaths live at 5536 Alameda St., Shoreview, Minn. 55126.

Cleveland Division 607 honors three retirees

BLET Division 607 in Cleveland recently bid a fond farewell to three members who are now enjoying retirement. At a retirement party in the Cleveland area, Division 607 President Bud Ramkey presided over a ceremony to honor the retirees and present them with farewell gifts.

Ronald T. Andolsen of Division 607 Cleveland hired on the Norfolk & Western Railway on Nov. 19, 1964, earning promotion from fireman to locomotive engineer in 1969. He officially retired on October 7, 2004

During his 40-year career, Bother Andolsen worked various yard assignments in Cleveland and Bellevue, Ohio, and worked many locals as well. He completed his last run on traveling switcher L-24 at South Lorain Yard. He enjoyed the continuous daily challenges that railroading presents, especially his acclamation period that afforded him some unique problems and accomplishments.

Division 607 presented him with an engraved desktop model of a NW locomotive and a hat bearing the NW logo as a retirement gift.


Richard L. Hunt hired on the Akron, Canton & Youngstown Railroad on May 23, 1964. The AC&Y was absorbed by the Norfolk & Western, which later became the Norfolk Southern.

Brother Hunt's Last Run came on the former Conrail yard assignment BF-14 at Chrysler Yard in Twinsburg, Ohio, on Jan. 2, 2004. During retirement, he has enjoyed boating, skiing, spending time with his family, and continues to improve his golf game.

As a retirement gift, he was given a desktop model of an AC&Y locomotive by the Brothers and Sisters of his division.


George J. Henry Jr. is a second-generation locomotive engineer. His father worked as an engineer on the former Big Four (Cleveland, Chicago, Cincinnati & St. Louis division of the New York Central retiring from Conrail in 1981).

George Jr. worked as a lineman for a public utility until corporate downsizing took its toll. At age 56, he hired out on Conrail as a trainman on January 11, 1999, and served as a conductor on the road freight pool between Cleveland and Conway, Pa. He later earned promotion to locomotive engineer and made his last run between Cleveland and Mingo Junction, Ohio, on train 62R on March 3, 2005.

George plans to enjoy his retirement traveling with his wife, spending time with his grandsons, and maybe taking some college courses.

Division 607 President Bud Ramkey and Richard L. Hunt

From left: Division 607 President Bud Ramkey presents George J. Henry Jr. with a model of a NY Central locomotive attached to a Conrail caboose at a retirement party for Brothers Henry, Andolsen and Hunt.

Send us your Last Runs/Honor Rolls

BLET members planning to retire in coming months should contact the National Division to have their Last Run and/or Honor Roll published in the monthly Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen News. Last Runs feature recently retired members while recognize members with 40 or more years of consecutive membership. For details, contact:

BLET Public Relations Dept.
1370 Ontario St., Mezzanine
Cleveland, OH 44113





© 2006 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen