73-year-old Richard Neesham has been revealed as the oldest person to drive trains on the Tyne and Wear Metro System.
Richard from Fawdon in Newcastle has been driving trains on the Metro since 1981 and says he loves every moment of it.
After starting out as a bus driver before apply to drive on the Metro, his public transport career spans 50 years and recently received a commemorative plaque to celebrate his time in the industry.
He became a Metro driver in 1981 and he has been there ever since. He hopes to continue driving while ever it is safe to do so.
Richard said: “I love the job. It keeps my mind active. It’s a big achievement to work so long in this industry and I love the camaraderie with the other drivers. Age is just a number and I don’t really think about it.
“I’m fit as a fiddle. My eyesight is good and I still feel confident driving the trains.
“You hear about people who retire and sometimes they don’t have anything to do. I was shielding for a few months during lockdown and it made me realise how much I missed work.
“I started as a Metro driver at the time that the network was brand new and I have been there over four decades.
“After all these years I still don’t mind the early starts. Getting up at 3 am for an early is actually my favourite shift.”
He said: “It’s a great job. The Metro attracted lots of bus drivers when it first opened and it was a brilliant career move for me.
“I must have carried millions of passengers over all those years. I’m one of a small number of drivers who have been there since the Metro system opened.
“I don’t have any plans to pack in just yet. My wife says it keeps me active and keeps me out of the house!”
Metro Operations Director, Chris Carson, said: “Richard is a hugely respected and popular member of our team.
“He’s one of our longest-serving Metro drivers and to be still doing the job at 73 is phenomenal. We’re delighted to still have him on board. His experience is invaluable.
“To spend 50 years in the transport industry is an amazing achievement and we were thrilled to present him with an award to recognise his outstanding level of service and commitment to his passengers.”
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