3D Digital Site Induction Training for Train Drivers

Urban CGI delivers AAA quality Site and Route Competency Induction Training products and services for rail and other industries. We have delivered premium Rail Site Induction products over 20 times for Tier 1 rail operators including Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM). Our Rail Route Induction Training Re-Qualification Simulations delivers over 50% savings in direct costs compared to standard methods for any significant Changed Track Condition brownfield scenario. Urban CGI 3D Digital Site Inductions also deliver millions of dollars in savings and months of time handed back to the commissioning process and network operations, as is evidenced in this article.

The Urban CGI Digital Site Induction workflow is able to deliver simulation products to the precision standards in the compressed timelines required, including full 3D CGI modelling, site data capture and integration across any length of track. We provide physics based simulations and precision information overlays as well as CGI Digital Twin models for further use case. Our Digital Site Induction solutions deliver an unparalleled return on investment as well as exceptional customer service. Upgrade your Site Inductions and Route Competency Training today by contacting Urban CGI for a demonstration and/or sharing this page with a relevant colleague.

What is Site Induction Training for Train Drivers?

After significant change track conditions, following a Route Risk Analysis (RRA), rail pilots may require re-qualification in the route to gain competence and learn the new site and route conditions in detail. This is a critical process for operational readiness, customer service and rail network operations.

Not only Train Drivers, but also Train Control and Signalling Technicians require site and route re-familiarisation and re-qualification for route competence and knowledge of the changed track conditions.

Rail Route Competency Training and Re-Qualification is particularly important in time-constrained brownfield commissioning construction events, where project completion and handover is critical to railway operations, reliability and on-time running for enhanced customer service outcomes.

The Old Way: Practical Runs for Induction Railway Training.

“Practical runs” of the changed track at the end of the commissioning event is the traditional and standard method for rail route competency training.

In the standard scenarios, there is a one-to-one ratio of a ‘tutor driver’ with a trainee driver to learn the route. The trainer driver, and sometimes up to 4 trainees, are physically in the cabin in the usually decommissioned section of track that is near its construction completion. The tutor driver drives up and down the track with the trainee driver/s, highlighting existing and new signals, components and assets.

The process relies upon the tutor driver to not only be available, but also to be a competent tutor and give the full required instructions, sometimes hundreds of times.

There are usually hundreds of drivers that require requalification. For example in the Public Transport Authority of Western Australia (PTA) there are some 350 drivers, growing to 700 drivers shortly. In Metro trains Melbourne (MTM), there are some 2,000 drivers, and these drivers are route qualified in sections of the network – such as the northern or western sections.

Using the standard Route Competency Qualification method, each driver is required to travel to the site for the Practical Run up to three times. because of this requirement, the entire route re/qualification process typically takes 14-16 weeks. That’s up to four months where the track may be unavailable for normal operations and/or construction works.

Every day the track is out of commission is of huge expense and opportunity cost to the network, and the construction commissioning process. Each day of operation or construction of the section of track has a value at least of $10,000 to $50,000, 7 days a week. For 16 weeks, or 112 days, this can add up to $1.1m to $5.6m in direct and opportunity costs to the network operator, franchisee and/or construction alliance.

In the standard, physical, Practical Run scenario the ‘train the trainer’ process often involves physically walking the track with the SME (subject matter expert) and the trainers, to learn the route in detail. This has clear safety, cost and logistical implications.

The train drivers themselves may need to travel long distances, up to three times, to undertake the practical runs. These drivers will be offline, requiring rostering duplication, overtime costs, travel costs and administration difficulty, including logistical and weather management. This may also impact customer service on other lines and routes whilst drivers, who are a scarce and expensive resource, are offline for re-qualification.

The Practical Run Route Qualification method may also omit other critical members of the rail organisation due to lack of time and resourcing – such as the Train Controllers or Signalling Technicians, Operations and Maintenance staff as well as executives and others who could benefit from Route Knowledge competency from the changed track conditions.

Documentation is limited in the Practical Run method other than route maps and signal arrangement plan schematics.

Typically rail operators will seek to induct 85% of the driver cohort to achieve Route Competency after the changed track conditions, with the remaining 15% of drivers able to be inducted by some of the 85% – which may lead to variable consistency of knowledge transfer, as well as further duplication and costs in rostering.

Case Study – Site Induction Railway Training for Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM)

Practical Run Route Qualification has a direct cost of around $2 million per project for route competency training and retraining in operational readiness.

MTM has a range of 750-1250 driver per network section (northern, southern etc) who require route requalification competency training after a significant changed track scenario.

MTM Practical Run Route Qualification methods were taking around 14 weeks, with 85% of the approximately 1000 drivers per network section undertaking a minimum 2 practical runs.

This added high costs to the construction processes, losing the 14 weeks track access, and kept the network out of commission, and customers on busses or alternative transport, for longer periods of time.

Metro Trains Melbourne has worked with Urban CGI for Rail Route Competency Training for a number of years, delivering over 19 projects. Some of the projects include Glenroy, Bell-Preston, Watsonia, Narre Warren and many others.

Using our rapid development CGI pipeline, the costs of route competency re/training has been reduced by over 50%, returning $1,000,000 per project back to the network and projects sponsor. Over 19 projects, this is a value of well over $19m dollars, as some of these projects have been very complex, involving over 33 scenarios (eg the Cranbourne Line Upgrade with Dandenong Station).

The 14 weeks of commissioning and operations handed back to the project and the network, calculated at $10k to $50k per day, gives 98 days over 19 projects or 1,862 days for a total of $18m – $93m in construction and operational savings.

The Urban CGI process has brought many change management and cultural benefits to the projects through our collaboration and integration pipeline, with particular note to gain more technical empathy between Train Controllers, Train Drivers and Signalling Technicians as well as the design and construction alliance and the rail operator.

MTM Operational Specialists consider their Route Requalification process world leading. The CGI induction method has been tested in the Court of the Fair Works Commission and has been upheld as valid.

Urban CGI has worked across all LXRA Construction Alliance teams, include a diverse array of design houses and construction teams, as well as multiple operational units within MTM to create a seamless, reliable, timely workflow.

No other supplier is able to meet these timelines and standards required.

In some cases, global engineering consultants within design-construct alliances have forced upon the operator their internal digital teams to try and build CGI simulations – but have failed to meet the time, quality or level of service needed to do this exacting work – leaving clients, drivers and projects high and dry and adding millions to the construction cost.

Urban CGI has delivered with many of the upgrades AAA quality CGI Digital Twin models of the track sections, available for ongoing inductions, construction planning, OH&S, O&M and other use cases, hosted on the cloud.

The New Way: Route and Site Induction Railway Training Courses – Delivered in Weeks.

To revolutionise route competency training, we have invested deeply and built a rail CGI Giga-factory that can accommodate the demands of the compressed timelines in railway commissioning for changed track conditions to support Digital Railway Site Inductions for Rail Routes and Corridors.

Our Digital Site Induction CGIs for rail route competency training qualification include all the details necessary.

This includes track upgrade, rail signals, exacting details including train whistle signals, old railway signals and new, wig wag crossings, axle counters, track belize, OLEs and every detail necessary – delivered in weeks to AAA quality with informational overlays including inclinometer and labelling of all elements.

Our standard product includes the Up Track and Down Track simulation for each train movement and scenario for the cabin view, for the train driver, and the overhead view, delivered side-by-side with the Rail Pilot view, for comparison for Train Control.

How do we do it?

Capturing the Digital Railway Environment

On approval, we typically commission a chopper for specialist photogrammetric data capture to about 5cm accuracy for context. We use current state photogrammetry is to give the full contextual accuracy for the train drivers who use environmental visual cues for train behaviours – such as braking and accelerating. The weather has to be right for the capture so the data is as good as possible for context familiarisation and route safety.

We process the huge survey data for use in the CGI and trim it to the rail corridor for the subject site. We usually capture extra data so that the visual integrity at the end of the change track environment is maintained for some hundreds of metres.

Beyond the photogrammetry we will usually include low resolution aerial photography and a digital terrain mesh to give further context of background hills, mountains and scenery.

Replicating Railway Environment Lighting and Climate

The entire model will be georeferenced and linked to our Ultra Dynamic Sky environment, which has beautiful volumetric clouds and lighting. CGI animations are typically produced with ‘ideal time of day’ conditions, but can be adjusted to include rain, fog, snow, dust storms, night times and a combination of all, including background traffic, lighting and light pollution.

If you choose the CGI Digital Twin option, beyond the CGI animations, then you and your team can adjust the lighting conditions, including sunrise and sunset, moonrise etc as well as the weather conditions. The advanced materials used for the CGI 3D model allow for reflective lighting behaviour.

The rail road signals are perfectly adjusted for luminosity and behaviour, linked to the train physics. The train stop controller is animated for train behaviour as the train approaches. The train horn signals at the right points along the track, with realistic natural sounds.

Upgrading Rail Signals and Railway Corridor Design

We assimilate all the final design BIM, CAD 3D and 2D data together to build an accurate 3D rail corridor. The design control line is a critical element, and may only exist for new tracks and will need to be made for existing and adjacent tracks.

For the track, we use AAA quality materials for rails, sleepers and ballast to give a photorealistic solution. Sometimes we are asked to incorporate cant and rail differentials around cornering. All can be accommodated as required.

We use our custom parametric rail signalling system to layout the signals, whistle boards, axle counters, belize. train stops, signal signage and all details. These elements are offset and grouped by typology from the design control line.

Smart clients have seen the extra value in the process and engaged Urban CGI for signal sighting and signal arrangement planning further up the design curve, saving money for construction clients in the design process.

OLE systems and gantries require special modelling and processes to ensure exact replicas to precision standards. Every gantry is unique and custom designed. Information is provided often from Bentley rail design packages (MX, OpenRail) and maybe billions of polygons, require decimation and optimisation.

Rail stations and furnishings will be usually provided in Autodesk Revit models, or 2D drawings. Subsurface stations have particular challenges. Old stations have no design information at all and are built by our CGI engineers from survey data, photos and video.

Overbridges, pedestrian crossings, safety pathways, fences, substations, electrical equipment all require special processes to be exactly correct for the rail route induction.

The myriad design inputs from multiple teams, packages, and quality may often be changing right to the last minute. Often there are conflicts and gaps that need to be resolved, and we provide clear alert systems and processes for feedback and issue resolution across the miles of track.  

Train Driver and Train Control Information Overlays

The Urban CGI team have created an efficient signage and overlay development system within the 3D CGI Digital Twin of the route. The SME provides the relevant overlays required, which may include signal names, pedestrian crossings, level crossings and other elements.

For the train controllers, we provide special OLE electrical section information in colour systems.

We’ve built and overlaid an inclinometer – provided in two different gradient units (percentage and ratio) for train drivers versus train control. This provides gradient information at a metre by metre basis back to the trainee so they can make decision on rolling stock behaviour.

We have an option to provide the route map with the geospatial position to give clear feedback on the location of the train in the schematic route map in relation to the spatial location in the digital rail environment. This is a powerful unique feature of the Urban CGI Digital Twin.

Railway staff collaboration in development

It’s not just the end result that matters, it is the process of bringing stakeholders on the journey to get these massively complex designs and dozens of people across many units integrated and aligned to deliver the outcome – on time.

Critically, we bring subject matter experts from diverse divisions on a journey to ensure axle counters, whistle boards, OLEs and signals are precisely perfect in position and behaviour. 

Our CGI review management system allows commenting and feedback directly on a per frame basis, with markups and comments, and our clients love it.

No other supplier can meet the requirements for driver training – Urban CGI provide the only viable alternative to the expensive and demanding practical runs, and we rely on them solely.

Carl Massey – Operational Readiness Training, Planning and Delivery Manager, MTM

Value Add with the CGI Rail Digital Twin

We extract the rail training and route induction familiarisation CGIs from our Digital Twin platform as plug-and-play MP4 videos.

We can provide the Digital Twin platform itself as an option for the particular corridor or greater network using higher or lower resolution 3D survey and design data for next-generation railway training and planning.

CGI Digital Twins can be used for decades for simulations, training and planning access, operations and maintenance, construction planning, shutdowns planning, occupational health and safety, access permitting and many other use cases along the rail way corridor.

Digital Rail Training for Route Inductions – Benefits and RoI

Cost – save 50% of the costs on traditional Practical Run Route Competency Training.

Safer – delivered in a classroom rather than on-track. This includes the need with traditional training for train the trainer sessions on the track, walking the entire corridor for familiarisation.
Consistent Subject Matter Expert (SME) knowledge transfer – across hundreds to thousands of drivers – ensuring every detail and nuance is instructed exactly correctly.
Driver roster capacity increase – because drivers are trained on the route in a singular 60 minute classroom session then re-familiarise through self-serve CGI access, as compared to multiple days or half-days out of commission in practical run training sessions.
Self-serve perpetual requalification – train drivers and train controllers love to access the rail route training CGIs via the web or intranet to re-familiarise themselves with the route and corridor. Staff access the rail corridor induction animations on their phones or tablets.

Route Qualification linked to L&D competency metrics – by converting the video CGIs into a html quizz format with an LMS link converts your video into a competency qualification tool. 
No resources and assets decommissioned – no or very few resources, rolling stock, track or assets need to be taken out of commission for CGI rail training. In practical runs – trains, track, assets and resources need to be taken offline for thousands of hours.

Improved network operations and customer service – because of the reduced training time on track and thus improved commissioning schedule, with CGI route competency training done offline – you are reduce handing back up to 16 weeks back to rail network seamless operations.

Reduce administration – much lower requirement for administration, rostering backfill, staff down time and overtime with CGI digital inductions vs traditional rail practical run training.

Faster knowledge transfer and absorption – CGI animation videos is much more efficient than onsite visits and instructions that can take hours of effort. High fidelity photo-realistic 3D animated graphics gives impressive knowledge transfer rates and high information retention. 

Complex rail operations information is made simple to understand – with clear visibility and wayfinding to emergency exits, first aid, gates and access points with the important and critical points articulated and highlighted.

Digital assessment for learning verifications – include question-and-answer sessions, complex or simple puzzles and reviews at the completion of animation videos to review information acquisition and immediately verify understanding of information received. This information can be linked to the Learning Management System and competence database for validation & storage.

Digital and paperless system – with no archiving of records, no need for paper trails and no pieces of paper sitting in inboxes waiting to be entered into databases.

Digital library of route competency – store route induction CGI animations to be used any number of times across years of operations. The savings to new staff and in emergency access situations is significant.

Recruitment tool – use CGI route inductions in attracting and training new staff as a competitive advantage for recruitment.

Technical empathy and cultural alignment – with our side-by-side views and integrated workflow, train drivers, train control and signallers work together and see each other’s point of view for safer operations, change management benefits and technical empathy.

100% of training completed before go-live – improved handover commissioning and operational readiness with training 100% completed by all operational staff before rail operations go live with CGI rail induction training.

Read more about the benefits of CGI training.

Digital Site Induction Training for the Glenroy Rail Route, Melbourne

Precision survey and BIM/3D engineering model environment for inductions for the critical rail safety infrastructure environment for the operational readiness phase of this major project for the rail pilot group. The UC planning environment made this very complex task easy for the client. Stored on the Metro Trains Melbourne internal cloud and used to induct hundreds of rail specialist staff into the rail scenario including signals, platforms, access pathways and points, station and railway layouts. Video simulations as well as full interactive simulated models are provided as part of the service.

Delivered as desktop high resolution CGI as well as interactive CGIs for the LX, NWPA and MTM Driver Training for hundreds of rail pilots, train controllers, signallers and signal technicians. The user familiarises and learns rail signals in the exact environment. On-screen support with inclinometer and line speed. High precision braking, acceleration, speeds, turnouts, points machines and track furniture. Linked rail schematics with geospatial locations of critical infrastructures.

Rail Pilot Induction Training Glenroy Scenarios for MTM Victoria

Digital Site Induction Training for the Bell Rail Route, Melbourne.

Precision survey and BIM/3D engineering model environment for inductions for the critical rail safety infrastructure environment for the operational readiness phase of this major project for the rail pilot group. The UC planning environment made this very complex task easy for the client. Stored on the Metro Trains Melbourne internal cloud and used to induct hundreds of rail specialist staff into the rail scenario including signals, platforms, access pathways and points, station and railway layouts. Video simulations as well as full interactive simulated models are provided as part of the service.

Delivered as desktop high resolution CGI as well as interactive CGIs for the LX, NWPA and MTM Driver Training for hundreds of rail pilots, train controllers, signallers and signal technicians. The user familiarises and learns rail signals in the exact environment. On-screen support with inclinometer and line speed. High precision braking, acceleration, speeds, turnouts, points machines and track furniture. Linked rail schematics with geospatial locations of critical infrastructures. Side by side for in-cabin pilot view and overhead train control Metrol view.

We are experts at creating accurate complex visual information guides, get in contact to find out how we do it.

Digital Site Induction Training for Construction Sites

The cost of inducting a single new contractor to a civil construction site can be several days, across many thousands of staff. The time and cost impacts can quickly stack up into the millions of dollars and the risk around consistency, quality and relevancy remains high. Poorly inducted staff can not only perform lower, but leave the organisation and its directors open to liability.

The industry standard site induction process remains ‘death by PowerPoint’ giving low information retention rates and high costs requiring induction staff and many hours of boring, hard to understand information. Clients who value productivity and efficiency look to new forms of digital induction with 3D CGI induction tools. 

Metro Tunnel Safety Induction

When the Melbourne Metro tunnel contractors needed to inform and engage the thousands of staff coming on site as to the rail construction environment – the contractor asked UC to provide material to give the crew an experience that would help them understand. Every new team member went through the induction process in UC virtual reality models, including a short 3D experiential introduction, and a longer VR based critical communications induction program. Utilised for many years, our induction and familiarisation tools supported thousands of staff to understand and work better in this complex environment.

VR Infrastructure Induction:

Please read our rail inductions and competency-based training page for more information about our railway education services.