Obituary: Dave Maloney – "District Dave"


[Sadly Dave passed away late last week. His family have been kind enough to allow us to reproduce his obituary here. He will be much missed. JB]

Dave Maloney, a London Underground Instructor Operator on the District Line, perhaps better known to many as District Dave, has died aged 59. Dave was webmaster of District Dave’s London Underground Site, on which he would enlighten readers about the varied life behind the LU roundel. The website 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.

Dave never intended to be a railwayman and for many years, like millions of other Londoners, he was a commuter on the Underground. However in the late 1990’s after 28 years with the same firm, he parted company with them and was simply looking for his next challenge. By pure chance, two neighbours who worked for London Underground independently suggested that he consider joining as a Station Assistant, even if only in the short term. Dave successfully applied and stayed with the job on the station until a spare training day a few months later brought about thoughts of becoming a Train Operator.

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.

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

His passing has 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 have resolved that the District Dave London Underground forum will continue to uphold his values and remain his legacy.

Dave Maloney died peacefully at home on the morning of 17th March 2011 after a long battle with heart problems and is survived by his wife Val and son Chris.

Written by John Bull
John Bull is the Editor of London Reconnections. A transport journalist and historian, his writing often focuses on the political or strategic challenges facing London's transport network and beyond.