finch west lrt simulator

Metrolinx bought a fancy simulator to train crews for new Toronto transit line

Metrolinx is racing to meet its promised 2023 completion of the Finch West LRT.

That timeline looks increasingly unlikely as construction presses on, but the regional transit agency is still working behind the scenes to prepare the operators who will soon drive the sparkling new light rail vehicles on an over 10-kilometre route serving 18 stops and stations.

Part of that training involves time in a high-tech simulator procured by Metrolinx and installed in the Finch West line's maintenance and storage facility on Finch Avenue, just west of Jane Street.

Future light rail vehicle (LRV) operators are put through an approximately 45-minute-long scenario which simulates the route of the Finch West LRT, replicating the vehicles' controls and utilizing an array of screens to simulate the driver compartment's surroundings.

Toronto is a city with four distinct seasons of weather. Changing conditions can greatly affect the operations of light rail, including increased braking distance during inclement weather, and other winter-related hazards.

The simulator incorporates Toronto's turbulent weather conditions into operator training, as well as another frequent challenge on city roads; unpredictable drivers.

Other drivers can track their colleagues' practice runs via screens and windows overlooking the simulator.

Transit operators are often trained on such simulators, and the TTC employs similar training tools to prepare its bus, streetcar, and subway crews to safely operate vehicles in a controlled, risk-free environment. GO Transit is another transit service in the region using high-tech simulators to train drivers.

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