A VOLUNTEER steam locomotive driver from the Swanage Railway was featured on ITV’s primetime Harbour Lives documentary.

Billy Johnson, aged 26, appeared on the television show as he drove the ‘Dorsetman’ Sunday lunch train through the Purbeck countryside.

The programme, which is presented by Ben Fogle, features the people and places around Poole Harbour.

Billy, who lives in Swanage, said: “I have steam in my blood and it really is a way of life.

“I really love the Swanage Railway, which has been rebuilt from nothing at Swanage since 1976 and is now connected to the national railway network.

“It is a real privilege and challenge to drive our steam locomotives through the lovely Purbeck countryside.”

Billy became involved with the heritage railway as a child during the late 1990s, starting as a member of the railway’s Sygnets youth group.

He went onto become a volunteer in the railway’s operations department, working his way up from locomotive cleaner to fireman and finally becoming a driver.

He explained: “Driving steam locomotives smoothly and efficiently is very important so our passengers are given a smooth ride, the diners’ food and drink is not spilt, we don’t use too much coal and water and other Swanage Railway trains are not delayed.

“The driver and fireman work as a very close team on the footplate which is a very hot and dusty place in which to work as was seen in the programme.

“Our oldest steam locomotive was designed in 1897 and built in 1905, while the newest steam locomotive in our fleet was built in 1955. That’s quite a time span.”