Rail Tech Talk – Simulations Save Lives & Help to Reassess Railway Resources

Welcome to our recurring post, Rail Tech Talk, highlighting how technology is helping the Rail Industry charge forward.

Training Drivers to Respect Railway Crossings
Making quick decisions while driving is crucial, which is why new drivers have lots of training ahead of taking to the road. Professional and agricultural drivers have additional training that covers their specific weight and travel concerns – but none of it adequately prepares a person for trying to beat a train across the tracks. And this leads to deadly consequences every year.

Operation Lifesaver’s rail safety training for drivers, called “Train to Drive” immerses participants in a VR simulation that demonstrates consequences of common reactions at train crossings. And it offers specific training for these three groups, with real-world scenarios that drive home how challenging it is to stop (or speed up) in time, and how easy it is to risk your life with one ill-advised miscalculation – a chance to try again:


Railway Maintenance Planning Simulations Save Time & Money

With more than four million people traveling by rail in the UK each day, finding ways to improve reliability and enhance safety is a top priority – but it needs to be done in ways that avoid major service disruptions. This is where simulation planning comes in.

Using a “4D simulation tool developed by the University of Salford’s THINKlab,” Network Rail engineers design and plan track renewal programs that “dramatically improve the efficiency, cost, and time it takes to deliver a project.” Projects that would typically take a full week to plan are done in mere hours now. And the ROI around resource planning has become an integral part of their process:

The tool has proven invaluable for assigning the right amount of resources to Network Rail’s track renewal programs. “Whereas we might have used five pieces of equipment for a job, we can often use two or three,” says Stephen Kearney, Head of Development at S&C Alliance South East. “With this package, we can see and prove what we will need in advance.”

Beyond resource planning, railways in general are experiencing exceptional ROI in other applications as well, including training!

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!

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