John Hill achieved his ultimate childhood dream of becoming an engine driver. He worked for many years for British Rail and offered his expertises to the Severn Valley Railway soon after the charity formed in 1966.
He recalls joining early work parties, repainting signs and doing station repairs at Bridgnorth. A monumental day was when John drove the SVR's first engine, 3205, into Bridgnorth station in 1967 and later that day ran little trips to the viaduct and back.
Over the years John continued to be involved in acquiring, working on and delivering engines. He also ran courses for engine drivers and firemen, training up a whole new generation of SVR train drivers. He has some riveting memories of being on the set of multiple films and adverts, and driving various engines in some exciting and risky train chases.
Being involved with the SVR has had a huge impact on John's life- in 1990 he took a paid job as Operating Superintendent with the SVR, which was by this point running regular trains from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth as well as putting on special trains and weekend events.
LISTEN TO JOHN HILL
(TALKING TO JULIA LETTS)
In this extract, John talks about the history of the SVR's first engine, 3205, and his involvement in bringing it to Bridgnorth on a memorable day in 1967.