Could you drive a Metro: Watch our Georgina have a go at operating one of the new fleet in virtual challenge
and live on Freeview channel 276
Stadler, the Swiss train builder, is supplying Nexus with 46 new trains for Metro, along with a new £70million maintenance depot.
We had the opportunity to try out the simulator which will be used for essential training and familiarisation ahead of the first new Metro train arriving in North East England at the end of the year.
The fully sized replica of the new Metro train cab, which has been provided by Stadler, uses CGI to give a realistic and interactive train diving experience.
The 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.
But it’s not as easy as it looks trying to speed up and brake at the right time while following traffic control and also trying to stop at the platform edge for passengers.
The new multi-million pound technology also has a range of potential situations including all weather conditions such as rain, wind and snow as well as objects which could appear on the Metro lines – including cows and a car.
After a bit of practice, I finally managed to stop the metro in line with the platform for passengers to use services after breaking far too late on several occasions but Head of Fleet and Depot Replacement Programme at Nexus, Michael Richardson says it’s all part of the ‘vital’ training for drivers.
He said: “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.
“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 on the new trains before the drivers get the chance to drive them for real in 2023.”
The simulator enables drivers to learn how to use the new trains’ hi-tech functions, including a Train Control Management System – the "brain" of the train which allows the driver to interact with the train’s systems.
Michael Darling, Learning and Development Specialist for Train Operations added: “We’re really excited, it’s going to completely change up everything we’re doing. We’re going to have a big change in reliability and it’s all new technology for our drivers to learn as well.