The COVID-19 crisis cannot take away the joy from Marc Michael Kluth has for his job. As a train driver at NordWestBahn, he feels more encouraged than ever in his choice of profession. We caught up with the 35-year-old to ask him about his job and what this past year has been like.
How have you experienced the COVID-19 crisis so far?
The past few months have certainly not been a normal everyday life. The trains were pretty empty and there were hardly any people on the platforms. But I didn’t have less work due to the COVID-19 crisis. For me as a train driver it makes no difference whether my train is fully occupied or not. I always drive.
What is it like to be on the go when others are working from home?
I love being a train driver and prefer to be on the track than to sit around at home. And there are also many other professionals, for example in nursing or retail, who cannot work from home. I’ve been driving for them over the past few months. It’s a good feeling when the passengers say thank you. It also makes me a little proud.
Not to forget that there is a lot of short time working in many companies and entire industries due to the COVID-19 crisis. On the other hand, I have no financial losses and luckily, I don’t have to worry about the future either.
What about the image of train drivers?
The COVID-19 crisis has shown one thing: train drivers are systemically relevant. We are needed more than ever. Because there is still a very pronounced rush-hour traffic on the rails. The slumps of the past few weeks are not permanent, the passengers are coming back noticeably – at least on my regular routes in the Niederrhein / Ruhr / Emscher-Münsterland region. There are more and more every day and the turnaround in traffic continues. OK then!
How do you see your professional prospects after the COVID-19 crisis?
Train driver is an absolutely crisis-proof profession. That’s one reason why I became a train driver. As a trained service technician, I retrained three years ago because there were fewer and fewer jobs in my industry. Now I am more than happy about this decision, especially since the job is much more fun for me and offers opportunities for advancement. In the meantime, I am even training other train drivers.
Photo credit: Steffen Högemann