TIRUCHI: The driving skills of diesel loco pilots of Southern Railway are being enhanced through an upgraded diesel loco simulator established here.
The existing French-made diesel loco simulator installed at the Diesel Traction Training Centre (DTTC) in 2005 has now been upgraded with a micro processor-based control system, besides a computer-controlled braking system and micro processor governor, to further fine-tune the driving skills of loco pilots attending refresher and promotion courses.
The upgradation was warranted to match with the technological improvements being carried out in new locomotives including the high horsepower diesel ones equipped with advanced features.
The analog gauges have been converted into digital gauges inside the completely revamped simulator with tell-tale signs on the micro-processor display system to provide guidance to loco pilots during hands-on training.
The railway administration has spent ₹1.5 crore for the upgradation. Among the 12 diesel loco simulators set up at various places across the country, the one at Tiruchi is the first one to be upgraded, railway officials say.
The loco simulator at the DTTC in Tiruchi was the first-of-its-kind to established in the entire Southern Railway zone in 2005 with a view to augmenting and fine-tuning the skills of loco pilots piloting goods and passenger trains. Since technological improvements began to be made over the years in the new diesel locomotives, which are now equipped with a micro processor control system, the need to upgrade the simulator was felt in line with such changes. The hands-on simulator training is imparted to loco pilots when they attend a periodic refresher or induction or promotion courses, said railway officials.
The refresher course, which includes training in diesel loco simulator, is organised once in three years for diesel loco pilots of Southern Railway piloting goods and passenger trains. The course is also aimed at training them to manage abnormal situation. Their alertness and reflexes will be put to test by creating an abnormal situation in the computerised simulator system, which provides a loco pilot a virtual driving experience, says a senior loco instructor.
Different weather conditions such as intense fog, heavy rain and storms are created in the system to judge their responses and help them to effectively manage such extreme conditions in real time situation, says the instructor.
The DTTC conducts a 14-day refresher course for nearly 50 loco pilots of Southern Railway every month, with four days exclusively allocated for simulator training, said the instructor.
Simulator training is also being provided to loco pilots of South Central Railway, South Western Railway and East Central Railway.