Former Tyne and Wear Metro drivers relaunch careers at Beamish Museum

Michael Bushy, Bob Blackburn and Ian Jefferson have taken on roles in the miners village.

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A trio of former Tyne and Wear Metro drivers have taken on brand-new career roles, as part of Beamish Museum.

Michael Bushby, Bob Blackburn and Ian Jefferson, all drove trains on the Tyne and Wear Metro for over 30 years, but have decided to relaunch their careers, playing the roles of miners, at the iconic open-air museum in County Durham.

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As part of their new jobs, the three men will be providing visitors with an immersive experience of what life was like for a miner down the pits back in the early 1990s.

As part of the experience, they will show visitors Beamish Museum’s Mahogany Drift Mine, recounting the harsh realities of miners in the North East.

After retiring from his role as a Tyne and Wear Metro driver in 2021, Michael was the first to begin working at Beamish Museum, before Ian and Bob followed suit.

60-year-old Michael, from Felling in Gateshead, said: “I really enjoy my role at Beamish and it’s been amazing that I’ve been joined there by two of my former driver colleagues from Metro.”

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“It all came about we had our annual get together. I told them guys all about what I was doing at Beamish and they were intrigued. They came to see me at the drift mine and it all went from there.

“Ian applied and was successful and then Bob decided to give it a go and he was also lucky enough to get a role there too. We’ve all been re-united at Beamish working as miners and in the 1900s pit village.

“I love working with people and I love local history, so the job is absolutely ideal for me. It’s fantastic to be able to be there and bring local history to life. The harsh reality of life working in a mine is something I never tire of telling people about.

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“I love the school groups as it gives me the chance to pass on our heritage to future generations. We also get a lot of international visitors, and I’m proud to be able to tell them all about our region’s industrial heritage.”

67-year-old Bob, from Longbenton explained a little more about his delight in joining Beamish Museum, as he said: “After seven years of being retired it’s great to be back working once again with good friends Michael and Ian.

“We all share the same enthusiasm for keeping the history of North East England alive through our work at Beamish, where you get the chance to live and breathe the proud heritage of our region.”

66-year-old Ian, from Consett spoke of his love of history and how he is happy to be a part of re-telling it, as he said: “I retired from Metro after 30 years of driving in 2022 and I had always wanted to so some voluntary work in later life.

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“I have a keen interest in history, and after I went to see Michael in his new role at Beamish I was inspired to get involved. I was captivated by the mining village and the museum in general.”

Retired Metro drivers Bob Blackburn, Michael Bushby and Ian Jefferson pictured at Beamish Museum in Country Durham.Retired Metro drivers Bob Blackburn, Michael Bushby and Ian Jefferson pictured at Beamish Museum in Country Durham.
Retired Metro drivers Bob Blackburn, Michael Bushby and Ian Jefferson pictured at Beamish Museum in Country Durham.

He continued: “I saw a chance to give back to my local community so I applied to Beamish for a role there. I was honoured to get the opportunity to work at the museum with my two former Metro colleagues.”