Welcome to our recurring post, Rail Tech Talk, highlighting how technology is helping the Rail Industry charge forward.
Gaming has become a way of life for many, with the bar for creating realistic gameplay reaching incredible heights. To keep up with this insatiable demand, as designers strive for maximum visual impact, verisimilitude has become the new standard. And this desire, combined with input from industry experts, has resulted professional-level outputs that realistically mirror real-world environments. So much so that they’ve attracted the attention of professional organizations.
For example, “the painstaking technical detail packed into Zusi 3 has made it particularly interesting to the German rail industry as a simulated training program for drivers.” It makes sense, as “the game incorporates driving physics that account for the train’s tilt, air and curve resistance, detailed simulations of in-cab Sifa safety systems, as well as accurate recreations of European and German signalling and train protection systems.”
As such, they logically created a “professional version of the game [that] allows supervisors to manipulate the simulation for training purposes,” with the ability to recreate various scenarios that are key to safe operation of its trains. And this professional version of the game is used by several dozen transport groups and technical schools in Germany. It gives drivers experience in situations they “might never see it in real life even in ten years” and would otherwise have correspondingly little meaningful training.
The game is so good, it’s intimidating to newer sim gamers, but the developer seems to have uncovered a new niche audience with training!
Recognizing the role of its pilots and assistant pilots as frontline workers who play a crucial role in operations and safety, Indian Railways is equipping all divisions with advanced 3D technology-enabled simulators for training. These digital crew simulation systems are expected to improve alertness and enhance safety amongst its approximately 86,000 train drivers in the Railways.
The goal is to “provide training in a real-life environment and expose trainees to unusual occurrences.” And “increased hours spent on simulator-based training improves the skill of the crew in train management, handling and brake management — and dealing with unusual and unsafe events.”
A senior Railway Ministry official said they plan covers that and more, including aspects like “train dynamics and handling, dealing with unusual and hazardous events, route learning, economical fuel-efficient driving and safe operations.” So, not only will operations run more smoothly, and practices become increasingly safer, but the Railway will also see a reduction in energy bills. And by deploying this training to every division, drivers can complete trainings where they are, removing traveling hurdles from the planning equation.
Simulation trainings for railways are proving their value worldwide. It’s an exciting time to be in the space!
Be sure to check out our Rail Virtual Training Solutions to see why BNSF, CSX, Amtrak, NS, UP, CN & KCS partner with Heartwood to deploy a variety of railroad training simulations and guides. And if you have any questions about these technologies, please reach out!