New training facilities have opened in the West Midlands to train railway staff to keep the rail network running safely.

The signalling simulators, which reflect real-life scenarios faced on the railway every day, have been installed at Walsall training centre and Birmingham’s New Street signal box. They are already being used to deliver Network Rail’s 12-week signaller training for new recruits and refresher training for current staff.

The facilities in Network Rail’s North West and Central region were completed ahead of schedule to increase the region’s signaller resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, working with Hitachi Information Control Systems (HICSE).

The operational simulator replicates the type of incidents and experiences that signallers would face on the railway, giving delegates the opportunity to get hands-on, practical experience to test their reactions in a safe environment.

Martin Colmey, head of operations for Central route, said: “This is an invaluable facility which will train hundreds of future signallers who will help to keep the railway safe and operational for millions of passengers in future.

“The simulator means our trainees can learn everything they need to know to confidently run the railway in a safe environment. The fact we can use it now to provide resilience during the ongoing coronavirus crisis is another success from this investment.”

Tim Gray, Managing Director of HICSE said: “I am really pleased that Hitachi have been able to help Network Rail in keeping the UK railways running for key workers and freight customers and to provide a new training facility for future resilience. This was as brilliant collaboration and I’m grateful for the dedication and innovation shown by the HICSE staff who were involved”

To find out more about Network Rail’s training, please visit https://www.networkrail-training.co.uk/.