Report in Railway Gazette. UK: Transport for London is looking for ‘innovative solutions’ which would reduce its reliance on full scale mock-up cab simulators for training London Underground drivers.
TfL says full-scale simulators ‘seem to add value to the training experience’, but are large, immovable, and require staff to travel to where the simulators are located. They also have reliability issues, and can be expensive to upgrade or modify. Meanwhile, TfL says it is seeking to reduce its physical estate, and it may not be possible to accommodate large fixed simulators in the future.
Having watched Secrets of the London Underground a couple of nights ago, when they visited West Ashfield station, I can only say that the full-scale cab simulators would appear to be a vital part of the training process and could only be matched by training in a real cab of a real unit, which given the ability to simulate failure scenarios, would mean taking units out of service to deliver driver training!
Stock Instructors still perform that function on Lines without simulators for new entrants and refresher training. On Lines with simulators, refresher training is done in them but initial Stock training still uses a real train within a depot.
"TfL says it is seeking to reduce its physical estate". Well Ashfield House training centre, seen on Secrets of the London Underground, is already sold as part of the Earl's Court redevelopment which include Lillie Bridge depot site, so must be vacated soon!
How about Virtual Reality headset plus haptic gloves for the trainee (plus computer)? As a 16-year old schoolboy, I remember a 5-minute session on a cine-film driven simulator at White City, but I'm not sure if that tipped the cab on corners... On the way home with an LU official in the cab, I was allowed to drive the H&C in the Ladbrook Grove area in the rush-hour!
That was the 1966 first simulator for train drivers at White City Training Centre (at 18:12 on Secrets of the London Underground Series 3 Episode 5 ). From outside it was a large metal box suspended to tilt like a flight simulator of the time, but inside it was a 1962 stock cab with some film footage of the Central line. The film speed adjusted to the driver's control settings, and if you released the deadman's handle the cab threw you towards the windscreen as if in an emergency stop. The current sophisticated simulators do not achieve that! Did the modern simulators begin with 1992 stock delivery, also to the Central line?