Motormen running suburban trains are all set to get a virtual training before being trained on the real thing.
The ministry of railways has allotted funds in the budget for both the Central and Western Railways to set up simulators at their training centres for motormen.
The simulator is an animated electronic device, which will mimic situations that a motorman might face while in the driver’s seat of the train.
“Simulators will help us monitor the motorman’s reflexes and will also help us know the problems he faces while sitting inside the train,” said a senior railway official on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Some of the most likely features would be the signalling system, crossovers, people crossing tracks, level crossings, trains passing by and other essential things usually seen on the suburban section.
“We have been demanding these simulators for more than a year now, yet no significant steps have been taken,” said a
motorman on condition of anonymity.
In this year’s budget, both the CR and WR received just Rs. 1,000 for these simulators. The total anticipated cost for its set-up is Rs. 12.24 crore for the CR and Rs. 8.45 crore for WR, which received Rs. 45,000 in last year’s budget.
CR and WR will now have to use its own funds for the project.
CR will install its simulators at the Kurla car shed and WR will install them at the Mahalaxmi car shed.
S Chandrayan, chief PRO, WR, said they would soon begin work on installing these simulators. Meanwhile, the research and design wing of the Indian Railways has been working on animated exercises on computers that can test mental ability, concentration power and alertness of motormen.
V Malegaonkar, chief PRO, CR, said, “The technology is very complex so we will first identify the latest available software for the purpose. So, I can’t say how long it will take to set up the project.”
Even the state’s transport department is looking at installing simulators at RTOs in Mumbai to gauge the skills of new drivers.