Five Minutes With...Davey Glover - life in lockdown for Doncaster-based train manager
Davey Glover, aged 42, from Balby, is a train manager for London North Eastern Railway. Here he talk about his work and dealing with the pandemic lockdowns.
What is your role at London North Eastern Railway?
As a train manager, no two days are the same.
We cover a huge swathe of the east coast from London King’s Cross to Leeds, Newcastle, Hull and the Scottish Highlands, so you get a lot of variety.
My role is to check tickets, operate the doors and look after the safety of customers and crew during their journey.
I sometimes say we’re the ones who have to deal with all the problems that arise too!
I moved into the role three years ago after a really varied career in different areas—I’ve worked in libraries, the police, retail, customer service, as a lifeguard and a bus driver.
I wish I’d discovered the train manager role years ago though, as I love it!
One day I’d like to be a driver, so this feels like a good step in that direction.
When lockdown was announced what happened to your role?
The passengers just vanished from the railway.
I went from managing a train with 600 passengers to only seven or eight.
On top of that, the crew wasn’t working either as it was essential staff only for safety – just me and the driver.
What was life like during that first wave of the pandemic?
It was quite isolating. In the back of your mind, you’re wondering ‘What if something happens’ – like a medical emergency or a drunk person kicking off.
Usually, the train crew provide a sense of back up.
And then there was the fact that normally I’d be interacting with all the passengers.
However, being able to get through that did make me think that I’d be able to deal with the isolation of being a driver.
I’ve always enjoyed messing about with media and making my own videos.
I think I was humming the song ‘All by Myself’ because I was on an empty train.
So, I played the Celine Dion video and tried to lip-sync along.
It was just a bit of fun to cheer people up who might be stuck at home.
I shared it among a few colleagues and then LNER asked to circulate it, which I didn’t expect!
People thought it was pretty cool, and I don’t mind being in the limelight!
It was intended to make people smile, so I’m happy that it’s done that.
What were the most positive parts of your experience?
For me, I think the highs were being able to carry on providing a service to those who really needed to get to work.
You have no idea if the people on your train are the doctors and nurses that keep people breathing or the people that fix medical equipment such as ventilators and so on.
And any negatives?
My low point was not seeing any of my friends and colleagues – without the crew it felt very strange.
But I’m naturally quite a happy person who doesn’t get stressed about things – it’s totally pointless doing that.
I try to stay positive for my own mental health.
Are you returning to normal duties?
My day job has kind of continued as normal, and the numbers on trains are picking up again.
I’ve been doing a lot more volunteering than normal with Bloodfast Hull**, a Yorkshire-based organisation that delivers urgent medical supplies.
A number of volunteers help Bloodfast to deliver blood, notes, organs, baby milk, sterile utensils and more all around the UK.
And I’ve made a few more silly videos too, including one at Doncaster Depot for the ‘Movember’ fundraiser.
What do you think the railways can offer in times of crises like these?
The railways definitely offer a lifeline.
A lot of people don’t have their own transport so whether it’s getting to work or travelling to help a sick person, the railways are the backbone that keeps the country going.
*Davey is one of a number of people who have been recognised in a new exhibition by the National Railway Museum in York entitled ‘Railway Heroes’ for his work throughout the pandemic. You can read more about the exhibition by visiting https://www.railwaymuseum.org.uk/objects-and-stories/railway-heroes#davey-glover-lner
** The Bloodfast Emergency Volunteer Service (EVS) was established in Kingston upon Hull in 2007. Its aim - to assist the local NHS trust with the carriage of urgent medical supplies vital to patient care, using motorcycles. The service was offered free of charge on a charitable basis, and the company is run as a not for profit organisation.