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Simulating the world's railways

01 Apr 2005

CORYS Training & Engineering Support Systems is supplying train simulators to railways across the world from its base in Grenoble.

The company has recently completed the modification of a cab simulator used to train Acela Express drivers to represent four additional types of vehicle, covering the majority of Amtrak's fleet.

The simulator can be used to represent Bombardier/Alstom HHP-8 and ASEA/EMD AEM-7 electric locomotives, GE P42 diesel-electrics and all other GM-EMD and GE locos which have Netsim generic desktops. Extensive hardware modifications were required to enable the various desktop configurations to be represented, and a PC package was supplied which simulates different types of train.

In February Union Pacific Railroad ordered its 34th Corys TESS driving simulator. Graphics are automatically generated from the railway's geographical information systems, enabling tens of thousands of route-km to be produced at low cost. UP's simulators are used for up to 22 h a day on six or seven days per week, for training new recruits and introducing existing drivers to new routes.

In its eighth British train simulation contract, Corys TESS is to supply TransPennine Express with two full-cab simulators next January. Representing the Class 185 three-car DMUs currently being built by Siemens, the simulators will be installed at Manchester and York. The Track Builder Tool will allow the operator to carry out independent expansion and modification of the visual database.

A suite of computer training software is being supplied to TransPennine Express ahead of the delivery of the simulators, and will provide extensive opportunities for staff training before the real trains arrive. A Train Discovery application provides an initial introduction to the Class 185, covering fault-finding, safety procedures and rules. There is a package presenting the interfaces and functionality of the train management system which will be supplied, and computer-based training on procedures and rules for train preparation. Northern Ireland Railways ordered a simulator covering 50 km of its 1600mm gauge network to prepare staff for 23 DMUs being supplied by CAF.

Train operators Southern and Virgin Trains have worked with Corys TESS to develop computer-based training on the British railway rulebook. The most recent addition is a module which covers personal track safety. The package is being used to train and assess both new and experienced staff as well as improve the ability of drivers to handle unexpected situations. CD ROM and internet versions are available, and the annual software licence includes updates to keep it in line with rulebook amendments.

Virgin CrossCountry has also awarded Corys TESS a contract to refurbish the two motion-platform Voyager DEMU cab simulators (RG 5.01 p353) at its Crewe training centre by July.

Indian Railways is now being supplied with 12 cab simulators worth a total of €20m in the largest contract Corys TESS has won in the railway sector. The simulators (above) represent the four most widespread diesel and electric loco types in India, and the contract includes support for 10 years.

During January IR began training staff at its Tiruchirappalli facility on the first of the full-motion simulators. A second was delivered to IR last month, and the remaining units will be supplied at two-monthly intervals. Because of the size of the order, production lines have been set up at the Corys TESS plant in Grenoble and in Delhi, with four simulators under construction at any one time. The order for the simulators was placed in 2003 (RG 8.03 p513), with Tractebel Engineers & Constructors Pte Ltd subcontracted to construct the buildings to house the simulators, provide the cabs and install and commission the equipment.

A full-motion cab simulator supplied to Norwegian State Railways during 2004 completed its test operations period in January. The simulator represents an Ansaldo BM72 EMU, and the contract includes five desktop simulators and workstations for the instructor and a developer. Computer-generated images replicate 130track-km of the Norwegian network.