SIMULATOR COMPLEX FOR CROSSING ATTENDANTS (SCCA)
Collisions at level crossings commonly cause road accidents. They endanger both car drivers’ and passengers' lives and pose a hazard to locomotives. A properly trained level crossing attendant can prevent such accidents and save lives. That is why it is extremely important to teach level crossing attendants situational awareness and let them practice basic control skills to improve their performance and decision making under stress. Simulator Complex for Crossing Attendants is designed to provide an immersive training experience in a simulated real-life environment and teach basic operating skills needed for a level crossing attendant.
This simulator complex imitates situations that potentially lead to road accidents and require the attendant’s immediate actions which are impossible to imitate in any other way than a 3D environment simulation. It helps crossing attendants to remember the right course of action aimed at eliminating any emergency situation, stopping a train and helping to evacuate vehicles from a potentially dangerous area.
If extended with an additional driver’s or SCLC workplace, SCCA can work in an integrated 3D environment that allows all the participants of a training session to work together and cooperate in order to prevent accidents, which provides a more involving and immersive training experience.
A simulator complex consists of the operator’s and instructor’s workstations. The operator’s workstation represents a crossing attendant’s cab and includes an actual attendant’s control stand and 12 LCD monitors representing the attendant’s cab windows with a 270 degree view at the virtual level crossing in a simulated 3D environment. Two of the four front monitors provide a first-person view when operators work outside the cab in a virtual 3D environment. The workplace is also equipped with a joystick which is used to control the action menu inside the cab as well as to interact with different objects outside the cab and move them around. There is also a desk with a PC which imitates the attendant’s journal and a telephone. The training complex can be extended with a driver’s workstation performing as a SC CLASS simulator and/or a SCLC workstation performing as a full-sized simulator complex or a compact SC CLASS simulator.
The SCCA training complex fully imitates the following aspects of a crossing level attendant’s work:
- overview of passing trains and vehicles;
- working with crossing console controlling traffic lights, half-barriers and flip-up barriers;
- signaling to passing trains with flags and lamps;
- communication with train dispatchers, engineers of passing trains and service workers;
- installation of portable train stop signals;
- inspection of railway tracks within the crossing area;
- keeping an observation journal;
- repairing minor faults.
All the actions taken by a trainee in the event of contingency are tracked, all the mistakes made are recorded in the protocol and can be evaluated both during the training and afterwards. Besides a voice hint system helps operator to get familiarized with the crossing equipment.
The instructor’s workstation is based on a personal computer equipped with LCD monitors that can display the layout of the 3D environment and video surveillance feed from inside the cab to supervise the training. The instructor is also provided with an interface enabling him/her to work with a virtual map as a train dispatcher and to create various tasks, malfunctions and obstacles for the operator to overcome. The instructor’s workstation is also equipped with a headset to talk with operators.
The instructor can set a variety of emergency situations at the crossing, including:
- alarm malfunctions;
- half-barriers’ failures;
- flip-up barrier failures;
- malfunctions in a passing train such as fire in a wagon or wheel skidding or slipping;
- cargo collapses, people, animals, other obstacles on the tracks;
- car breakdown at a level crossing.
The AUTO (SC AUTO) simulation complex can also be used to raise vehicle drivers’ awareness and teach safe driving behavior at level crossings. It is equipped with a steering wheel and pedal controllers.