New Signalling simulators for Scotland

Oct. 23, 2019

New signalling VR simulators


Caption: First group of signallers going through training

A new training facility has opened on the Scotland route, offering foundation training to new signallers for the first time in over 15 years. Housed at Shettleston Depot, Glasgow, it comes at a time when demand for signaller training has increased.

Supply and demand

Since 2003, new signallers have travelled south to national centres for training. With demand in Scotland more than doubling in recent years, Network Rail Training identified the need for a local facility.

Dawn Sharkey, national training manager for Scotland, commented: “We’ve seen a significant increase in demand and we identified a location that we could rapidly transform to deliver local training. We’ve also recruited two new trainers, offering much needed capability in Scotland.

“The new facility has two types of simulators that enable delegates to perform hands-on tasks and be practically assessed. The simulators are linked to computers that can make faults appear and create hazards and risks so signallers can demonstrate their competence in a safe environment.

“These real-life scenarios will test a signaller’s knowledge, skills and behaviours. Our aim is to create a training environment that feels ‘real’ –to build confidence and improve performance.

 “The first cohort of 10 trainees joined us in September and an additional 10 will start after Christmas. This is a real step forward in being able to increase our capacity and provide an effective, local solution to address training demand for Scotland’s Railway.”

A resilient and reliable railway

Liam Sumpter, route director, added: “Signallers are vital to our ability to run a safe and reliable railway. The new facility is key to addressing the known skills gap and ensuring we have a qualified pool of individuals available now, and a healthy pipeline for the future.

“Having this facility in Scotland can reduce travelling time by several hours in each direction which is not only better for fatigue but it also makes the job more accessible to people with different domestic arrangements, making Network Rail a more inclusive organisation.

“This kind of investment is key to the resilience of Scotland’s Railway and underlines our commitment to putting passengers and freight first. My thanks to our colleagues in Route Services Training for turning this around so quickly.”