Evergreen Richard Neesham is still driving Metro trains at 73 years young, and he’s loving every moment of it.
Richard, of Fawdon in Newcastle, has a passion for his job and he plans to stay on track – as long as it’s safe for him to do so.
The grandfather is the oldest person to drive trains on the iconic Tyne and Wear Metro system.
He became a Metro driver in 1981 and he has been there ever since.
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 3am for an early is actually my favourite shift.”
Richard started his career as a bus driver before applying for Metro not long after the system opened.
His career in public transport spans 50 years, and he was recently presented with a commemorative plaque to celebrate his longevity in the industry.
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.”