Gearing up for new electric trains
Train drivers are getting ready for the arrival of new electric units.
With Auckland’s first electric train set to arrive next month the city’s drivers are learning how to operate the new model with the help of two state-of-the-art simulators.
Each simulator is laid out exactly like the driver’s cab in an electric train with all the controls in the same place and a large flat screen display in place of the windscreen.
The screen shows the view the driver would see from the cab and the simulators are programmed with the Auckland railway network, which was filmed last year and converted into video graphics, allowing drivers to be trained to drive over the full network.
The simulator can be set to show day or night-time, includes a range of weather, and can also simulate faults in the train or events on the line.
Auckland Transport chairman Lester Levy has had a go on the simulator.
‘‘I was given some basic training on how to drive it. The new trains are going to be great for Auckland commuters and, if the simulator is anything to go by, they’ll be a pleasure to drive,’’ he says.
A training instructor sets up the simulator at the start of each training session to select the route, weather, time of day and any incidents or faults that are required for the training session.
The trainee then operates the simulator while the instructor monitors progress remotely, using mimic screens and a webcam that shows what the trainee is doing.
Every training run is recorded and can be played back and analysed with the trainee.
Once drivers are competent on the simulator they will be tested driving the new trains on the network prior to passenger services starting early next year.
There are 57 three-car train sets being manufactured by Construcciones y Auxilair Ferrocarriles in Spain and all will be operating by mid-2015.
Training up: Auckland Transport chairman Lester Levy with driver trainer Pat James in one of the simulators being used to prepare drivers for the new electric trains, which are on their way from Spain.