John Hill was a long-serving volunteer on the SVR. He was Chairman of the Severn Valley Railway Association between 1973 and 1976 and was also a Director of the Guarantee Company and SVR(H). He died on 14 January 2021 following a long period of ill health.
John Hill was a BR driver, based at Saltley and Tyseley during his career. With steam ended on the main line, he heard of the newly-formed Severn Valley Railway preservation society and became a member in 1966. He was on the footplate of 3205 when it arrived on at Bridgnorth from Stourbridge on 25 March 1967 and was the first person to drive an engine of the SVR in preservation. The events around that time were later featured in the 2012 TV mini-series "The Golden Age of Steam Railways", for which John Hill is credited on the Internet Movie Database.
John appeared in Carrie's War, filmed on the footplate of 5764 on 5 November 1973 with the late Jim Bodfish. He also drove Holmes' train throughout the filming of The Seven-Per-Cent Solution in 1975, appearing in the film's credits in the role of 'Train engineer'.
His invaluable footplate experience was passed on to those volunteers wishing to become firemen/drivers and assisted in establishing Bridgnorth MPD. John also passed out as a signalman.
Directorships and other
John was elected Chairman of the SVRA in succession to John Garth at the AGM on 17 November 1973. One of his first duties was to organise a collection for a wreath for the late Sir Gerald Nabarro.
During his time as SVRA Chairman, the SVR extended services to Bewdley in 1974, resulting in a greater pressure of work on the already hard-pressed volunteer labour force which the SVRA represented. He was succeeded as Chairman of the SVRA by Ron Gardner during 1976.
By spring 1975 John was a Director of the Guarantee Company and also on the Board of SVR(H) as one of that company’s nominees.
In 1977 he took on the volunteer role of Operating Superintendent, and undertook a review and reorganisation of the structure of the Operating Department. In 1978 he headed a committee to draw up a formal Health and Safety policy. In Spring 1979 he announced he would be stepping down as Operating Superintendent but was prevailed upon to continue until summer 1980. Shortly afterwards he resigned from the company Boards due to pressure of non-SVR matters, but remained an active volunteer until at least 2017.
- Express and Star interview, Published: 24 March 2017
- John Hill on IMDb
- Magner (1997) p. 51.
- SVR News 17
- SVR News 31
- SVR News 38
- Internet Movie Database
- SVR News 30
- SVR News 34
- SVR News 35, SVRA Chairman’s report
- SVR News 40
- SVR News 36
- SVR News 45,46
- SVR News 50
- SVR News 51,52, 56
- SVR News 59
- BranchLines, April 2017
- BBC iPlayer 2 minute extract from The Golden Age of Steam Railways featuring 3205 and John Hill