MTR Crossrail creates virtual reality stations for training (Railway-Technology)

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The operator of London’s upcoming Elizabeth Line has developed a platform that allows trainee staff to hone their safety and security skills in a virtual train station. In this Q&A, MTR Crossrail finance director Andy King talks to Joe Baker about the benefits of this innovative approach to training, and how it could be expanded in the future.

The strength of a new railway depends not only on fancy new infrastructure and trains, but on competent staff keeping things running smoothly at stations. To enhance its training programme, Elizabeth Line train operator MTR Crossrail looked to the world of virtual reality (VR) and introduced a platform simulator that will allow new employees to put their skills to the test in a computer-generated train station.

Built in conjunction with technology specialist Invirt Reality and using the HTC Vive VR system, the platform allows trainee staff to walk around and interact with objects using movements and arm gestures. Training is staged across a number of scenarios, from reporting faults on critical station equipment, to dealing with safety hazards that would be too dangerous to replicate in real life.

VR has already been deployed elsewhere in the rail industry, including numerous aspects of Crossrail’s construction. However, MTR Crossrail finance director Andy King says that the application of VR to station staff training is a leading step for the UK’s rail sector, and one that other operators might look to utilise in the future.

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Written by Long Branch Mike