Friday, May 24, 2019

Simulators Take the Lead in Rail Freight as Well as Maritime Training

Drivers can be Assessed as Never Before
Shipping News Feature
UK – Simulation may be a dirty word in the world of professional football, but it seems that logistics is taking it ever more to its heart, as new technology allows practitioners to use the most up to date equipment to assist in training and assessing staff more efficiently than at any point in the past. The same week we saw the country's most sophisticated maritime simulator introduced, so the rail freight industry was showing off its latest wares.

On Wednesday GB Railfreight (GBRf) celebrated the unveiling of its own two new cutting-edge simulators with a launch event at its recently renovated Peterborough training facility. As the UK’s first and only full cab freight European Traffic Management System (ERTMS) simulators, GBRf claims it is leading the way on digital innovation within the UK rail training sector.

The event saw the outgoing Mayor of Peterborough, Chris Ash assisting GBRf managing director John Smith in cutting the ribbon to mark the official opening of the new facility. Competition was apparently fierce as attendees were all keen to try out the new simulators, which will be used for driver training, all of whom left thoroughly impressed by the true to life simulator experience. John Smith, commented:

“These simulators come out of a desire to change the way in which we manage the competency of our Train Managers, who drive our trains on a day to day basis. At the moment, when you train someone to drive a train, they do a lot of classroom work, are then mentored in the cab, and then they’re on their own out there. But every year we have to check they’re still doing the job correctly.

”These simulators allow us to trial a number of circumstances in a very realistic environment that allows trainers and assessors sitting outside the cab to see how drivers react in different circumstances. The ability to continually ensure that the competency of the individual is still full is massive, as well as testing how people react to different circumstances in a safe environment. The simulators will really develop how competency is managed.”

The new £1 million simulators represent the first stage in a programme of investment by GBRf in Peterborough, with a new regional HQ planned, along with the development of surrounding yards for operational purposes. Corys, GBRf’s engineering partner in the project said in a statement:

“We would like to thank GB Railfreight for giving us the opportunity to collaborate on the simulator project. It was novel for us to transform these two old locos into state of the art training simulators, we don’t have that many projects like this and it has run very well, we have a very successful working relationship and we look forward to supporting GBRf long term.”

Photo: The new generation simulators give a previously impossible idea of true track conditions.