The South Shields train driver who has been taking families round South Marine Park for 48 years - and counting

South Shields steam train driver Keith Nye is showing no sign of hitting the buffers after 48 years of outstanding service.

Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 6:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 5:12 pm

The 61-year-old has been working on the train in South Marine Park ever since he was 13 years old.

And after 48 years on the tracks, we are wondering if he is the longest serving worker in South Tyneside – unless you know better.

It was back in 1973 when he joined Lakeshore Railroad’s team as a junior engine cleaner and fell in love with steam trains.

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Keith Nye doing the job he loves on the miniature train.

He worked his way up to driver and still hauls up to 60 passengers a trip round South Marine Park to this day.

Keith now lives in Leeds and is retired but nothing stops him from heading back to his home town to become an engine driver each year.

Keith spoke to the Gazette after we published an archive photo at the weekend of him as a young driver in 1980.

He instantly recognised himself and told the Gazette in Facebook: “It is August Bank Holiday Monday 1980, I’m the engine driver. I will also be the engine driver this Bank Holiday Monday.”

Keith Nye is ready for another journey on the miniature train.

Since that old photo was taken, he’s visited steam trains in China, India, Java and Eritrea but none compare to South Shields.

"I always come back to this one because this is where it all started,” he said.

He is a qualified electronics engineer by trade and left South Tyneside for work in Leeds in 1987. He still lives there now.

But he has never missed a single year of train driving and comes back to Shields to become a driver once more for Bank Holidays.

Keith drives a packed train in this scene from 1980.

This year, he spent four weeks in a Shields hotel while he worked as a train driver once more.

Keith added: “When I was fully employed, I only managed the Bank Holidays and an occasional weekend but since I retired four years ago, it gives me more free time.”

Does Keith hold a record for the longest-working employee in South Tyneside?

We would love to hear from you if you know different? Tell us about the people with amazing career records by emailing [email protected]

Miniature steam train driver Keith Nye.

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Keith Nye with another train load of passengers.
A first class service from miniature steam train driver Keith Nye.
What an incredible career for miniature steam train driver Keith Nye.