Watch as Metro drivers get hands-on with hi-tech new training simulator in South Shields

Metro drivers are getting virtual reality hands-on experience with the service’s new fleet in South Tyneside.

The first of 46 new trains is due to arrive in the region at the end of the year and enter service in mid-2023.

In the meantime, manufacturer Stadler has provided a full-scale replica of the new cab which uses CGI to give a realistic and interactive experience of driving one.

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The simulator, which has been installed at the Nexus Learning Centre in South Shields, will be used for essential training and familiarisation before the new fleet hits the rails.

The entire Metro network and all 60 stations have been programmed in, appearing on high-resolution screens in front of the driver as if they were looking out of the actual windscreen.

All weather conditions and potential situations from snow and high winds and even potential hazards such as cows on the line can be thrown at the driver at the touch of a button.

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Nexus Head of Fleet and Depot Replacement Programme at Nexus Michael Richardson is delighted: “The new simulator will be vital for getting our drivers ready for their new Metro trains. It’s a really exciting time for them to be able to use this amazing new technology.

“This really does mark the start of a new era in how we can train our Metro drivers and it will be in use for many years to come. We are grateful to Stadler for supplying us with such a fantastic and immersive driver training aid. We’ve never had anything like this before.

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The simulator has been programmed with the entire Metro network
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“The simulator allows the drivers to get ready for making the switch, because the new trains are much more hi-tech than the current fleet. It provides an opportunity to get used to all the various functions and features before the drivers get the chance to drive them for real in 2023.

“We are just a few months away from a really exciting moment when we see the first new train arrive in the region. By getting a simulator in place we are ensuring that we are ready to make a seamless transition to this modern new Metro fleet.”

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Marc Robson, regional fleet manager at Stadler, added: “We are delighted to have delivered this highly sophisticated piece of equipment to Nexus.

How the new trains will look
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"It will be instrumental to the successful delivery of the training programme, enabling drivers to familiarise themselves with the new trains we’re currently building and promoting the smooth transition from the old to the new fleet.”

Craig Pearson is one of the 174 drivers employed by Nexus and has played a key role in helping his colleagues get ready for the new trains.

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“The new simulator is amazing,” he said.

"It is already providing us with a real feel of what the new trains are capable of. The level of detail is fantastic and is each route is easily identifiable.

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"It is better than the expectations we had for it. Early feedback from drivers has been very positive.”

Find out more about the new Metro fleet at www.nexus.org.uk/newmetrotrains