New simulator provides leading edge training for Perth's train drivers - Public Transport Authority of Western Australia
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New simulator provides leading edge training for Perth's train drivers


Perth's train drivers will receive part of their training on a new, state-of-the-art $2million simulator at the Public Transport Authority's Claisebrook depot.

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan today inspected the simulator and new training rooms at the depot.

These facilities are part of the Gallop Government's commitment to providing a state-of-the-art public transport system.

Simulator training is now a major component of the 22-week training course for new drivers.

Ms MacTiernan said up to 70 new drivers would be recruited by the time the $1.5billion expansion of Perth's passenger rail network was completed in 2006.

"We are providing our train drivers with the best training facilities to ensure they can provide the best possible service to commuters on our expanding urban rail network," she said.

The simulator is made up of a full-size cab mockup, driver's desk and controls identical to the real cab, a large LCD projection system and leading edge software.

The technology in the simulator is computer-generated imagery (CGI), with a digital sound system representing the cab, train and environmental sounds in real time, and the message announcement system.

A PC-based modelling computer represents the train behaviour in normal and faulty operations.

"Training is controlled by an instructor in a separate room, who monitors the performance of the trainee driver and can enter random scenarios - such as workers on the railway reserve or an animal which has wandered on to the track," the Minister said.

"The simulator plays a key role in teaching the trainee drivers correct manipulation of cab controls, safe driving practices, and appropriate traction and brake application practices, as well as various elements of safety procedures and signalling."

Ms MacTiernan said the skill enhancement features covered such areas as safety procedures, signalling, train management system and fault rectification.

It could also measure observance of speed limits, signal lights, semaphores, flags, track and train conditions and weather conditions.

The CGI currently covers the Northern Suburbs line, where the new railcars will start operating after the new station at Clarkson is opened in October.

The Southern Suburbs line will be programmed in once all design is completed. Ultimately, all tracks can be used, in any direction, with any switch position.

Perth company MRX Technologies, in conjunction with Corys Tess, built the simulator - which replicates the driver's cab of one of the new trains - as part of a contract for the supply of 93 railcars (31 three-car sets) awarded to the EDI-Rail Bombardier joint venture in May 2002.

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