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.
#DYK? To assist with operator training, we have acquired a training simulator and installed it at the Maintenance and Storage Facility. pic.twitter.com/HSiGOjICMJ— Finch West LRT (@FinchWestLRT) April 28, 2023
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.
The simulator’s program runs through a partial reconstruction of the Finch West LRT line and takes approximately 45 minutes to run the scenario pic.twitter.com/FWkqjnT3v0— Finch West LRT (@FinchWestLRT) April 28, 2023
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.
Weather conditions can be simulated; this includes sunny days with clear skies all the way to whiteout blizzards, and everything in between. pic.twitter.com/vbkFc0aaWu— Finch West LRT (@FinchWestLRT) April 28, 2023
The simulator incorporates Toronto's turbulent weather conditions into operator training, as well as another frequent challenge on city roads; unpredictable drivers.
Real life scenarios can be integrated too! This includes cars turning into the LRV’s path, sudden pedestrian appearances, and simulated mechanical issues. The point is to ensure operators are trained and ready for anything. pic.twitter.com/O0mg0BHIHm— Finch West LRT (@FinchWestLRT) April 28, 2023
Other drivers can track their colleagues' practice runs via screens and windows overlooking the simulator.
Other operators can monitor each practice-run live to see what their colleague is doing during the simulation. pic.twitter.com/Jy4ARX3zW6— Finch West LRT (@FinchWestLRT) April 28, 2023
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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