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Auckland Transport

Learning to drive Auckland's new trains

Media release: 12 August 2013​

Auckland’s train drivers are learning to drive the city’s new electric trains prior to the first one arriving from Spain at the end of the month.

Auckland Transport has set up two ‘state of the art’ simulators which are being used to train the drivers. Each simulator is laid out exactly like the driver’s cab in an electric train with all the controls in the same place and a large flat screen display in place of the windscreen. Rather like a giant video game, the screen displays the view that the driver would see from the cab.

The simulator is programmed with the Auckland railway network, which was filmed last year and converted into video graphics, allowing drivers to be trained to drive over the full network.

Auckland Transport Chairman Dr Lester Levy was today shown the simulator. “I was given some basic training on how to drive it, the new trains are going to be great for Auckland commuters and, if the simulator is anything to go by, they’ll be a pleasure to drive.”

The simulator can be set to show daytime or night-time and includes a range of weather conditions, it can also simulate faults in the train or events on the line.

Transdev driver trainer William Els says, “Drivers can familiarise themselves with all the safety features before they even get in the cab or out on the network. The simulator means drivers get more than double the practical experience they would have had otherwise.”

A training instructor sets up the simulator at the start of each training session to select the route, weather, time of day and any incidents or faults that are required for the training session. The trainee then operates the simulator while the instructor monitors progress remotely, using mimic screens and a webcam that shows what the trainee is doing. Every training run is recorded and can be played back and analysed with the trainee.

Transdev Managing Director Terry Scott says, “Safety is a priority at Transdev so having a tool like the simulator for our drivers to practise on is fantastic.”

Once drivers are competent on the simulator they will be test driving the new trains on the network prior to passenger services starting early next year.

There are 57 three-car train sets being manufactured by Construcciones y Auxilair Ferrocarriles (CAF) in Spain, all will be operating by mid-2015.

The simulators have been manufactured by Lander Simulation and Training Solution S.A. based in Spain.

Watch a video of the simulator in use on

Read more about the electric trains project.

See the latest video of our first train leaving Spain for New Zealand