A star of ITV’s documentary series about the Tyne and Wear Metro is a former soldier who served in Afghanistan with Prince Harry.
James McCaffery, the man responsible for running the Metro control room, starred in the first episode of the four-part documentary series – The Metro: A Rail Life Story - and he makes an appearance in the final episode when staff are seen managing crowds at the Great North Run.
James, 40, of Gosforth, in Newcastle, spent 17 years in the British Army prior to joining Nexus.
Between 2007 and 2008 he did a six month tour of duty in war-torn Afghanistan, fighting battles against the Taliban in the dangerous Helmand Province. James was a Major in the Royal Artillery Regiment.
He briefly served alongside Prince Harry at a forward operating base in northern Helmand, near the town of Musa Qala, a scene of the war’s most fierce fighting.
After leaving the Army James was able to transfer his operational management skills into a role at Metro, and he became its Head of Service Delivery.
And after 15 months in that job he found himself at work alongside the film crews shooting the Metro documentary series.
He said: “I was nervous about seeing myself on screen but I was also pleasantly surprised by it. To get over 2.5 million viewers was great.
“The feedback has been positive and I’ve had some good natured ribbing from my former army colleagues.
“Over the four episodes the viewers will get the chance to see a lot of the hard working staff, who are people from the north east, who put everything into delivering the Metro service.
“The camera crews were with us across last summer so they have captured major event management as well as some of the more challenging day to day issues that we face.
“I think the Metro system is fantastic and it maybe gets taken a bit for granted at times. I’ve worked all across the country and not many places have a transport system like the Metro.”
James, who is originally from Ormskirk, near Liverpool, added: “After 17 years in the army the job at Metro was a new challenge but the nature of the work, managing operations, was something that appealed to me. There are actually some similarities between the two roles.
“During my time in Afghanistan there were battles with the Taliban. We faced the threat of IEDs and rocket attacks. Our role at first was reconnaissance, which involved going out and looking for the enemy. We also did a patrol and protect role in and around the town of Musa Qala to try keep it free of the Taliban. It was a challenging tour and some blokes who went out there didn’t make it home.”