That picture was the catalyst. Smart's first railcycle hit the track in 1976 and jumped it 100 feet later. After much trial and error he came up with his current model. For what purpose, beyond his own enjoyment, he's not sure. He would like to market the railcycle someday, but he fears what would happen if it were used by people not as careful as he. Nor does he know what the official reaction of the railroad companies would be.
Unofficially, it's just fine. Smart pretty much sticks to abandoned lines, though once, on an active line, he had a surprise meeting with a train coming round a mountain bend at perhaps 10 mph. No problem. The railcycle can be removed from the track in a few seconds. His most frequent encounters are with work crews. "Usually," he says, "they want to take a ride."
Sadly, at least for Smart, railroad tracks are often torn up within a year or two of their abandonment. Thus his railcycle is sometimes the last vehicle to ride a disused section of storied track, and that does provide Smart with a certain satisfaction. Says Doug Bruce, a Coeur d'Alene radiologist who is a frequent rider of the guest railcycle, "Given his choice, I think Dick would really prefer to be a hobo."