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August 12, 2013

Learning to drive Auckland's new trains

Auckland Transport has set up two ‘state of the art’ simulators which are being used to train the drivers. 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. Rather like a giant video game, the screen displays the view that the driver would see from the cab.
The simulator is 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.
Auckland Transport Chairman Dr Lester Levy was today shown 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.”
The simulator can be set to show daytime or night-time and includes a range of weather conditions, it can also simulate faults in the train or events on the line.
Transdev driver trainer William Els says, “Drivers can familiarise themselves with all the safety features before they even get in the cab or out on the network. The simulator means drivers get more than double the practical experience they would have had otherwise.”
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.
Transdev Managing Director Terry Scott says, “Safety is a priority at Transdev so having a tool like the simulator for our drivers to practise on is fantastic.”
Once drivers are competent on the simulator they will be test 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 (CAF) in Spain, all will be operating by mid-2015.
The simulators have been manufactured by Lander Simulation and Training Solution S.A. based in Spain.

lester levy and pat james on simulator
Photo caption: Auckland Transport chairman Dr Lester Levy with driver trainer Pat James
For more information:
For media inquiries please call:
Sharon Hunter, Communications Manager, Auckland Transport
021 545 230,