Posted on February 21, 2014 · Posted in South West & Wales

Members of the IRO South West & Wales Area were offered a chance to visit the CrossCountry Trains Driving Simulator in Derby on 6th February. The visit was very informative and allowed delegates to see how drivers are put through their paces!
The Simulator centre contains two Voyager simulators with three routes available to test drivers: Bristol Temple Meads to Gloucester; Coventry to Wolverhampton and Edinburgh to Torness. This allows all drivers to be tested on a route they currently, or will sign. The cabs themselves contain everything a Voyager does. There are a number of scenarios each driver can be put through to see how they react and how to deal with anything unusual they may encounter.
Each delegate was given the opportunity to take the controls, facing events such as a horse on the line, a freak snowfall, a signal not displaying correctly, and broken windscreen. Following the visit to the simulator delegates had the option to visit the East Midlands Railway Operating Centre. The first part of the visit was to look at the signalling floor, which controls the Midland Mainline from Sharnbrook; the area formerly controlled by Trent Junction; the rebuilt Nottingham station; Robin Hood Line to Mansfield Woodhouse and the start of the East Nottinghamshire lines to Lincoln and Skegness. There will be a greater area to be added to the latter workstation upon resignalling. The Robin Hood Line desk also has control of the tramway over level crossings that are shared with Network Rail.
The next part of the visit included another simulator experience, this time in the Trent Junction simulator, which controls from Loughborough to Attenborough, Long Eaton and just South of Toton. This also has control of a number of level crossings, and these are simulated as well, with touch screen controls representing everything the signaller sees.
To complete the visit delegates visited the East Midlands Trains/ Network Rail/ Devon & Cornwall Railways control floor and learnt of the remote monitoring equipment of points and cable troughing to prevent cable theft. It is interesting to see how the areas signalling has changed over the recent period, and how traffic patterns have changed.