Jack from customer support shares his experience visiting LNER

LNER simulator and observation suite

Recently, the 3Squared Customer Support Team; myself Jack Rawlin, Claire Booth and Scott McPhillie, alongside Marketing Manager Marie Hanby and Sales and Account Manager Jason Greig, were invited to visit the LNER Simulator Suite at London Kings Cross.

Arriving at London Kings Cross, we were greeted by Simon Reading, one of LNER’s Driver Team Managers, who is also an experienced user of the 3Squared RailSmart EDS product.

From here, the scenarios can also be customised in various ways such as amending the weather conditions, changing signal aspects, forcing derailments, and placing domestic animals and wildlife on the tracks. This allows the driver being assessed to be subjected to a wide range of driving conditions and events that could potentially occur while driving trains across the network.

Claire Booth on LNER simulator

After a short overview and discussion, we headed into the Simulator Suite where each member of the visiting group was given the opportunity to take control of the LNER Azuma (Class 800) simulator on a journey originating from London Kings Cross and terminating at Peterborough.

As the simulator sessions commenced, we were joined by Rollo Campbell, another of LNER’s Driver Team Managers, who provided useful insight and much-needed direction around the correct procedures to operate the simulator and get the train moving, while Simon was controlling and managing the scenario from the adjacent Observer Suite.

Software Support Analyst Jack was also given the opportunity to have a go on the more complex older Class 91 electric locomotive simulator and was complimented on his use of the controls.

Jack on LNER simulator

Senior Software Support Analyst Scott made sure that Head of Customer Support Claire got all the different weather scenarios thrown at her including realistic thunder and lightning noises / visuals, so Claire retaliated by getting Simon to add a cow obstructing the line for Scott. No real animals were harmed during the simulation; however, we do not believe the AI cow survived the impact!

Claire did have to handle a sudden Red Signal and deal with reporting a SPAD (Signal Passed At Danger) to the Signaller and clearing the in-cab fault before she could proceed to Potters Bar station.

It made us all reflect and appreciate how complex driving a train can be and that you must always be alert. We were tired out after only a brief time on the simulator and the scenario laid out by Simon was the “happy path” with no major interruptions or hazards on the route.

Team visit to LNER