Rail Firm Delays VR to Enhance Safety on the Tracks
VR railway training system

Rail Firm Delays VR to Enhance Safety on the Tracks

After witnessing one of the worst train crashes in British history, the Clapham Junction accident in 1988 that took the lives of 35 people, Paul Martin of PM Training and Assessing in Crickhowell sought to facilitate better training programs for engineers to prevent such incidents further in the future.

He partnered with his wife, Pam, an experienced trainer and assessor, to create a mechanism that would disseminate the necessary skills to engineers for enhancing rail safety.

The couple developed a mobile unit to travel around the country and deliver hands-on training modules through simulated systems used on the railways. But recently, they sought assistance from virtual reality tech to expand their business digitally.

They collaborated with the Centre of Excellence in Mobile and Emerging Technologies (CEMET), based at the University of South Wales (USW), to create a VR training system to give engineers an experience of things that could go wrong due to inappropriate behavior testing of railway systems.

“I was an apprentice when the Clapham Junction accident happened in 1988 when 35 people were killed,” said Paul. “I was on site, and I never want to see anything like that ever happen again, or anyone to go through that.”

“If you can show people the consequences of their actions, in a training environment, then that’s a way of shocking them into realizing what can happen if they get things wrong.”

He got in touch with CMET to develop a virtual environment to display the importance of adequate training to the rail engineers.

“CEMET created the next step – a virtual environment,” he said.

Clayton Jones, program manager at CEMET, said, “Working with Paul and Pam at PM Training and Assessing is what CEMET is all about, helping small businesses which need specialist tech support, but may not have the funding available, get their ideas off the ground.”

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