District Dave

Who is District Dave ?

David Maloney was the man behind the original District Dave Trainweb site and the District Dave London Underground forum. He was also a much respected Instructor Operator on the District Line, hence his pseudonym !

In the late 1990’s Dave parted company with his previous employer after 28 years. Besides using London Underground as a everyday commuter, he had no experience of the railway industry and was simply looking for his next challenge, but had no specific idea of which direction to take.

By pure chance his next door neighbour, a Duty Station Manager and another close neighbour, a Station Assistant, both independently suggested that as London Underground were recruiting station staff at that time, it might be something to do even if only in the short term. Dave duly applied and was offered the position of Station Assistant, undertaking a four-week training process at the London Underground Training Centre at Ashfield House in West Kensington.

Working at a station which was one of the main change over points for Train Crews, Dave got to know a number of Train Operators, Instructor Operators (I/Os) and Duty Managers (Trains) (DMTs). After a few months adverts for Train Operators appeared in the weekly Traffic Circular and he was encouraged by the train crews to “go for it; we can see you on the handle”. Until then Dave had simply thought that he would progress through to Station Supervisor grade and perhaps beyond, but had never really thought that ‘Train Side’ would be avenue which would open up.

With a Training Day available to Dave, arrangements were made for him to spend a day with an Instructor Operator, during which he learnt about the various bits of kit in the cab, what each did and basic driving techniques. Then suddenly he was informed that he would be driving for the rest of the trip...

to say I was taken aback would be an understatement; I had expected to do a ‘rounder’ observing and to see what it was like on the front of the train, but not to actually take control.

So Dave had been bitten by the driving bug and obtaining an Application Pack, he duly filled out the necessary forms and submitted his application.


Sadly David Maloney died, aged just 59 on Thursday 17 March 2011.

Dave’s original London Underground Site became a firm favourite for enthusiasts and railway professionals alike, who wanted to learn more about the Underground or discover what life was like as a Train Operator. However, it was the visionary in Dave, in creating his Proboards forum (and an earlier Bravenet version), with its quality and discipline, that became a rare gem amongst forums and allowed railway professionals and enthusiasts to interact, share and learn about the Underground.

Over the years Dave’s interests had become both numerous and varied. For example an early interest in motorbikes caused him to regularly disappear on sunny days leaving his wife to hope he’d reappear sometime for a meal. It became a family joke that it always rained if she went out with him on the back. Dave was also a keen guitarist and regularly played in a band. In typical fashion, he would be first to arrive at a gig and set everything up and the last to leave, overloading his car with the gear and then looking after it until the next booking. He also had a gentle and pleasant singing voice, although he was a bit shy and very modest about it. He and his son Chris went shooting, fishing, cycling and enjoyed anything to do with planes and motorsport. Dave especially liked boating holidays. He found them very relaxing and planned on getting a small boat when he retired. He liked sport but preferred watching it, beer in hand, than taking part! He was also especially fond of cats and accumulated four but it was the “District Dave” brand that he was particularly proud of and he enjoyed the social side of that, as with all his interests.

David Maloney    Photo taken by Anne Maningas

Ultimately it was Dave's amiable personality, humility, professionalism, unstinting infectious enthusiasm and willingness to help and develop others that resulted in him being held in such high esteem by colleagues, friends and railway enthusiasts. He even became widely respected and admired by people whom he had never met across the globe... to quote Kentucky Tony from the District Dave LU forum:

You are missed, Dave, even in the hills of Kentucky. Quite an accomplishment for a District driver!”

His passing prompted those who knew him in person or online to reflect upon the qualities we all aspire to, but which few of us ever achieve. David Maloney was one of those very few and the forum membership resolved that the District Dave London Underground forum would continue to uphold his values and remain his legacy. Their thoughts posted in the thread that announced Dave’s passing, an online book of condolence, speaks volumes for the esteem Dave was held in.