Assistance to the Region of Normandy as an organising authority for rail passenger transport

Context

As Normandy received responsibility for the intercity lines, it has the ambition to develop rail and implement serious alternatives to cars by making the train more accessible and convenient. Among the means necessary to provide a good rail transport service, the rolling stock and associated maintenance facilities are major elements to take into account.

Within the framework of an exploitation convention, maintenance facilities are the subject of a target plan, linked to the renewal of equipment, in which the Region finances new workshops and equipment.

On the longer term, the opening of the market to the competition requires a transfer procedure of trains and workshops to the Region. As the Regional Authority will recover ownership of these assets, it will also have to define a medium and long-term asset strategy and ensure proper operational maintenance.

Transurb’s Mission

Transurb and its partners’ mission will be, but not limited to:

  • Assistance and technical support on property transfer procedures
  • Assistance in defining maintenance and asset management strategies
  • Technical expertise in the field of railway engineering and maintenance
  • Fleet management optimisation study
  • Thematic studies, including energy audits and reports on the parking of trains

Technical expertise and operational advice for Île de France Mobilité

Context

RATP-GI (RATP – Gestionnaire Infrastructure) and SNCF-Reseau decide on the scheduling of maintenance and development work on the Ile de France network, each according to its own scope.   

IdFM may be asked to give its opinion on the scheduling of this work and, if necessary, to propose alternatives or changes that are relevant in terms of the impact on users or the timetable to modernise the Transilien lines. 

The reliability of the network has a significant impact on the non-availability of public rail transport.

Transurb’s Mission

Through 3 missions, Transurb brings its technical expertise in the field of railway infrastructures and works to achieve the following objectives: 

  • Mission 1: Analysis of the relevance of adapted transport plans during the construction phase 
  • Mission 2 : Programming of works on the IdFM network 
  • Mission 3 : Audit on the maintenance policy carried out by the infrastructure managers on the existing IdFM network 

The railway market welcomes a new generation of XR driving simulator

When years ago, the Railway Market only believed in simulators physically replicating entire driving cabins, Transurb took a gamble on the creation of smaller, transportable simulators.

As this type of simulator has now been widely adopted by operators all over the world, we are betting, once again, on portability. But this time, we reconcile it with an unmatched level of realism.

The price of a Nano with the immersion of a Full-Cab

Each train, tram, or metro driver needs thorough training to be fully prepared to face all kinds of hazardous situations. It is why driving simulators exist; they provide this essential practical experience in a safe and managed environment.

But so far, operators had to make a crucial choice: to choose between immersion and portability. Either they had an important budget and wished to heavily invest in particularly immersive tools, such as Full-Cab Simulators; or they chose to favour more scalable and affordable simulators, such as Nano Simulators.

But what if that choice was no longer needed?

Seeing the needs of operators evolve and the awareness around the usefulness of simulators increase, Transurb chose to reimagine its Nano Simulator with Mixed Reality and to thereby expand existing training possibilities.

When the virtual and real-world come together

This new type of mixed reality simulator is composed of a panel of physical instrumentation, a touchscreen for the virtualised instrumentation, and a virtual reality headset.

Seated at this simulator and equipped with the appropriate headset, a learner is fully immersed in their driving cab. They can turn around and see passengers in their tram, look left and right to pay attention to pedestrians and be mindful of surrounding dangers.

On top of that, the simulated environment is blended with real elements, which allows the learner to use the physical instrumentation of the simulator. Doing so, real driving conditions are entirely replicated, with a full field of view -particularly useful for the training of tram drivers- and physical interactions with real equipment.

This new level of immersion, which has never been met before, made available on a portable, budget-friendly tool, is a milestone for the world of railway training.

Innovation at its finest

As Transurb strives to stay ahead of its time, its Research & Development team had the idea of developing a new category of simulators using mixed reality technology years ago. But the existing Virtual Reality headsets were not powerful and advanced enough for such a development.

Today’s technology makes it now possible for us to provide such solutions to our partners. We’re really exited to elevate the potential of simulation training to the next level.

Nicolas Sanders, Head of Product and Reasearch & Development at Transurb Simulation

Bend the forgetting curve with TrainLab

When you teach your learners an important new procedure, you might as well hope they remember that new bit of information. But nothing is less certain in traditional training workshops or courses.

What is the forgetting curve?

German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus published a well-established and since then repeatedly proven theory called “The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve”.

His experiments demonstrate that when we learn something new, we gradually forget about it as time passes -in a matter of days or weeks. In order to overcome that forgetting curve, the newly learned information has to be refreshed at regular intervals.

In the following graph, it can be observed that a steep drop in memory happens soon after learning. After that, periodic refresh sessions strengthen memory retention. Even though forgetting starts again after each review session, it’s slower than before.

How can you implement refresh sessions?

In order to overcome the challenge of organising your training courses with refresh sessions at regular intervals, tools such as TrainLab can help you. With its intuitive editor, learning content can be constructed into spaced and chewable chunks of information, tailor-made to suit your learners’ training needs.

Moreover, this application allows instructors to follow their trainees’ progress and ensure knowledge and skills are understood and assimilated correctly.

Make it accessible

To ensure training modules are learned and practiced as often as needed, it goes without saying that they should be accessible anytime, anywhere, whether at the office, on a train, or at home. And that’s when TrainLab comes into play!

Give every chance to your learners

Ebbinghaus’s theory also encompasses the importance of content presentation. The way in which the learning material is presented can undoubtedly make the learning process easier.

A training module containing an interactive 3D image or simple annotated pictures on a 3-page word document does naturally not provide learners with the same chances of remembering its content in the long term. And that’s precisely what Transurb is specialised in: immersing learners in interactive tailor-made virtual environments.

As a learner actively engages with a 3D representation of a machine and learns the associated protocol in memorable, interactive, and meaningful steps, they are provided with the best chances to strengthen their memories associated with this topic.

New Generation Tram Simulator for STIB in Brussels

After more than 3 decades of collaboration with the Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company, Transurb continues this fruitful partnership with the delivery of a Compact Simulator that simulates Alstom’s Flexity 2 trams.

Simulator enhanced for light rail training

As the STIB’s tram fleet expands with Tram New Generation (TNG) vehicles from Alstom, Brussel’s tram network can accommodate a growing number of passengers. The Belgian operator therefore chose to invest in a cutting-edge training solution to prepare its drivers to operate these new TNG trams in the best way possible.

That’s why Transurb proposed a simulator that combines pedagogy with the latest technology regarding light rail training. With its large field of view, the delivered Compact Simulator immerses STIB’s learners in a particularly accurate 3D representation of their network and familiarises them with elementary aspects of light rail, such as mixed traffic conditions and peak passengers’ periods.

Shoutout to Alstom and STIB

It has been a pleasure to take part to this tripartite project. We are proud of the simulator we delivered and foresee many productive training sessions to come! We wish our partners a successful continuation in the delivery and reception of the Tram New Generation.

For more information regarding our simulators, feel free to contact us at simulator@transurb.com.

SNCF Réseau in France orders 30 ETCS Simulators to Transurb

The French railway infrastructure manager SNCF Réseau has put its trust in Transurb Simulation and ordered a total amount of 30 Nano Simulators, together with 6 Instructor Stations, 1 Preparator Station and 1 Observation Station.

Portable and flexible simulators

Given the wide diversity of rolling stock in SNCF Réseau’s fleet, as well as the range of training centres located in different areas, the ideal training tool for this infrastructure manager resides in the easily transportable and scalable Nano Simulator.

Solely composed of two high-performance screens and a set of tailor-made Clip-&-Ready control panels, the Nano Simulator can be easily transported in travel suitcases from one depot to another, and thereby meet each specific training need in the most flexible way.

Market leading expertise in ETCS

Over the years, Transurb Simulation has gained extensive expertise in ETCS Simulators thanks to our close collaboration with our colleagues from Transurb Technirail, who are experts in ETCS, as well as our many projects, for instance with ONCF (Morocco), KRAO (Finland), Alstom (Denmark), Euro Cargo Rail (France), MAV Start (Hungary),TfNSW (Australia), and so on.

Cocreation is Transurb’s motto

Transurb sets itself apart in the simulation market by its way of collaborating with its partners. We understand that the creation of a simulator is a continuous and iterative process that requires listening to the client throughout the entire project.

That is why when we deliver a simulator, we provide our clients with intuitive tools that allow them to create their own tracks, signals, trains and scenarios. We thereby empower them to create accurate and varied training content with simplicity.

It is in this spirit of collaboration that we embark on this promising project with SNCF Réseau, whom we warmly thank for their trust!

Augmented Reality in the service of safety training for Infrabel

Infrabel, the Belgian railway infrastructure manager, has been provided with a new training tool on the cutting edge of technology: a “3D Cave Track Simulator” equipped with Augmented Reality.

Award-winning simulator

In 2017, Transurb delivered to Infrabel a “Cave Simulator” equipped with Virtual Reality. This training tool, aiming to train track maintenance staff for safety procedures, won the RailTech Innovation Award.

Continuing its momentum in innovative developments, Transurb has proposed to Infrabel to upgrade the Cave with the latest generation of virtual tools: Augmented Reality.

State-of-the-art virtual technology

In order to teach Infrabel’s trackside workers the appropriate reflexes in standard, abnormal and stressful situations, the Cave immerses them in a virtual world representing their daily working environment.

Thanks to the “green screening” technology, this 3D environment is mixed with reality, which allows learners to use their real working tools during the simulation session, such as a horn or a red flag. That way, students learn to use their actual everyday tools and visualise them, as well as their own body, in the 3D world.

This simulation solution therefore offers absolute immersion, allowing learners to acquire and sharpen appropriate reflexes, as well as practice in stressful situations and in different geographical areas of Infrabel’s network.

“Safety first”

As Infrabel always puts safety above everything else, they chose to invest in these latest developments regarding virtual technology and thereby ensure their workers receive the most accurate and realistic training possible.

Transurb is proud to help Infrabel in its ambition to “make the Belgian rail network one of the safest in Europe and is certainly convinced that risks of accidents in the field will be reduced even further with this training tool.

Technical assistance for the Cameroon – Chad railway line feasibility study

Context

The Republic of Cameroon and the Republic of Chad have decided to complete the Douala – N’Djamena corridor by building the railway section linking Ngaoundéré in Cameroon to N’Djamena, the Chadian capital. The integration of the infrastructure networks of the two countries is a vital necessity insofar as it allows for the establishment of common and coherent platforms for different modes of transport.

Transurb’s Mission

Transurb will provide technical assistance for the coordination of the feasibility study for the construction of the railway line.

The scope of Transurb’s services includes assistance to the Technical Management Unit of the project (UTGP) in the administrative, technical and financial tasks as well as the management of the study.

The main purpose of the provided technical assistance is to strengthen the capacities of the two States in the concepts of delegated management of public services and in the analysis and validation of the reports produced by the consultancy firm in charge of the feasibility study.

Project management assistance to the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region in France

Context

The Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region is currently defining its 2022-2030 Transport Plan to deduce its rolling stock requirements.

This will make it possible to question the current division of transport lines into batches as described in the current TER Nouvelle-Aquitaine agreement and to propose an optimised division about the need for rolling stock and its maintenance.

The purpose of this framework agreement, which is to be executed in the form of subsequent contracts, is to provide project management assistance to the Region for the technical, legal and financial preparation of the 2019-2024 TER operating agreement between the Region and SNCF Voyageurs.

Transurb’s mission

Transurb and its partners assist the Region in two phases. The first, related to the Post-Convention strategic orientations, will enable the Region to choose the management mode after the TER 2019-2024 agreement. During the second phase, which consists in the final drafting of the strategy convention, we will develop and adjust 2 to 3 scenarios with a view to finalising the allotment and planning of the procedures.

CSM and Interoperability manager of Banedanmark Signalling Programme in Denmark

Context

In 2008, the Danish infrastructure manager Banedanmark has set up a national Signalling Programme, which is expected to be implemented in 2030. This full signalling renewal aims at increasing performance and reducing operations and maintenance costs. Its scope includes the implementation of ERTMS L2 Baseline 3MR1 (SRS 3.4.0) across the country’s conventional network (Fjernbanen) and the conversion of the Copenhagen commuter-system (S-bane) to CBTC.

This Signalling Programme includes multiple projects, among others:

  • GSM-R
  • Traffic Control Centers
  • New operational rules
  • Training of traffic management staff, signalling technicians and train drivers
  • Safety approvals
  • Enterprise Service Bus

Transurb’s mission

Transurb’s Senior Expert joins the integrated team as CSM and Interoperability manager in order to help Banedanmark on interoperability, safety (RAMS/CSM) and approval issues regarding ERTMS trackside & onboard systems.

Which simulator should you pick?

― The right solution for every need ―

If you are convinced of the necessity to invest in simulation training but are unsure about which solution you should go for, we are here to help!

Based on our experience, each type of simulator has its advantages and drawbacks. The point for you is to determine your needs in terms of immersion and scalability. We have exemplified this on the following graph:

First off, you may observe that the graph opposes “traditional learning” to “immersive learning” methods. Simulators involve more senses than textbooks and lectures, and therefore involve learners more actively, which results in a higher learning retention. If you are not convinced of this or simply want to know more about this subject, we invite you to read this article.

Then, each learning tool displays a variable degree of scalability, which means they each have various constraints regarding costs, space, transportability, and accessibility.

Full-Cab Simulator

Take the for Full-Cab instance, one of the most immersive solutions on the market. By replicating the full cabin interior, this simulator offers a very high degree of immersion to learners and thereby leads to particularly effective training sessions. But at the same time, this type of simulator is not very scalable since it is a rather large piece of equipment, meant to stay put, and costly to replicate for a large number of simultaneous users.

Compact Simulator

Placed a bit higher on this scalability ordinate is the Compact simulator, which finds a proper balance between space optimisation and immersion. This simulator, which replicates the driving desk of your rolling stock, offers a high degree of immersion to drivers while minimising the space in the simulation room.

Nano Simulator

If you want to give consistent and standardised training to a large number of learners located in different rooms, stations or depots, the Nano simulator could be of particular interest to you. Thanks to its simplified instrumentation that can be easily clipped onto your desk and connected to two screens, this type of simulator can easily be transported in travel suitcases from one depot to another. That way, the training goes to trainees, not the opposite.

Cloud Simulator

The simulation software present on all simulators can even be accessed via the Cloud via any personal computer, which allows learners to train from home, without having to be physically present on the training site.

TrainLab

This highly scalable training tool has an even more scalable counterpart: TrainLab. This multi and cross-platform application is available on computer, smartphone and tablet and can be accessed via Windows, iOS, Android, Virtual Reality and SCORM. Learners can thereby discover their rolling stock, interact with customised 3D environments and learn specific procedures anywhere, anytime.

Each type of simulator offers a different degree of immersion and scalability. It all depends on your training needs. In most cases, the ideal setup is a combination of various simulators, which optimises the client’s investment since the exact same software runs on all our systems. But we know each project is unique as we have been delivering advanced training solutions all over the world for more than 18 years. We would therefore be happy to discuss your project with you and help you determine which training tool would best help you achieve your training goals.

Successful remote refurbishment with Sydney Trains in Australia

Despite the current sanitary situation, Transurb has managed to completely refurbish eight Compact Simulators of the Australian operator Sydney Trains.

Expert training solution with new hardware and software

In order to give the utmost realistic and qualitative training to its learners, the operator of the metropolitan Sydney area asked Transurb to refurbish its existing Compact Simulators with new hardware and software elements.

Together with brand new and high-quality hardware components, the state-of-the-art Simulation Management Software R³ and the latest computer-generated imagery technology will allow Sydney Trains’ learners to evolve in real-like environments and ready themselves to drive both the Waratah and Oscar trains on 300 km of accurately represented tracks.

Besides the objective of increasing reality, Transurb’s refurbishment will also offer the guarantee of quality in the long term by increasing the solution’s reliability and longevity.

Overcoming COVID challenges

As the pandemic situation in each country is changing constantly, the reliable continuation of projects around the world requires flexibility and ingenuity. To refurbish Sydney Trains’ Simulators remotely, Transurb had to adapt and organise its usual way of working differently.

It was an opportunity, among others, to strengthen our relations on-site and to collaborate seamlessly with our local partner.

Another essential element to the success of this project was the dynamic, positive, and constructive collaboration with the transport operator. We therefore earnestly thank them and wish them great success in their upcoming training sessions!

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