App Smoothes Move to In-Cab Signalling

6th April 2018

A new and unique app to help train drivers manage the move to in cab signalling systems has been created following a collaboration between software specialists 3Squared and Virgin Trains East Coast.

The app is called the European Rail Traffic Management System, Driver Machine Interface App (ERTMS DMI). It is a fast track familiarisation tool for any passenger or freight train operating company looking to 'jump start' their drivers' knowledge of ERTMS as it comes into use on Britain's rail network, smoothing the changeover between systems. The process of training drivers for ERTMS typically includes use of a train driving simulator. The 3Squared app has been designed specifically to give drivers the chance to familiarise themselves with the look and feel of the simulator before they get onto the simulator itself. This saves money, shortens training time and reduces the demand for simulator usage. The need for a training aid to prepare the industry for the switch to a digital railway became apparent after the Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB) had carried out research among train drivers. The RSSB found that those who currently move between signalling systems felt the route learning they received prepared them well. The research also suggested, however, that increasing the number of changes and placing drivers in areas of high complexity or degraded operations could create confusion on which train protection system is active. A key component of ERTMS is the on-board signalling equipment, the European Train Control System (ETCS). Network Rail announced recently that all 750 vehicles in Britain's operational freight fleet is to be fitted with ETCS as part of Britain's digital railway programme. 3Squared Managing Director Tim Jones said: -The transition to a digital railway is one of the biggest challenges the rail industry has faced in the last decade. The technology is tried and tested but we must not forget about the people who work within the industry. -This will be a significant shift in the way of working for many people who need the tools and support required to meet the challenges presented by that shift. 3Squared is committed to a digital railway with its suite of RailSmart operations, safety and performance software tools as well as the ERTMS DMI. Downloadable from the app store ERTMS DMI can be used during normal working hours or casually in spare time. 3Squared is now working with other operators, train manufacturers and industry bodies to enhance the ERTMS DMI app and, with it available as a white label app, would welcome collaboration from others wanting to get involved.

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