From jamie goodwin | Wednesday 21 August 2019
First 18 drivers testing their knowledge on moving trains as they operate TransPennine Express 802s up and down from Peterborough.
Trains drivers have begun training ahead of the arrival of the operator's new £60 million fleet.
Work so far has been based around the classroom, on simulators before the arrival of five new Hitachi Class 802 trains.
Now the first 18 Hull Trains drivers will test their knowledge on moving trains, operating TransPennine Express 802s up and down from Peterborough.
The first of the five new trains is due to arrive in the first week of September to be rolled into passenger use in early November.
But the hard work for staff started several months ago. So far, they have been put through their paces with 30 hours in the classroom, six hours working on a simulator and three days on a static train.
They will now spend 20 hours on the TransPennine train to ensure they are ready ahead of the arrival of the new fleet.
Trainer Bruce Davidson said: “Driving a train is not like driving a new car. It is a completely new set of controls, which initially can be quite daunting, but after a while you get your head around the fact that generally the controls are the same, just in different places.
“The big change is the fact these are bi-mode trains – operating on both diesel and electric traction. There’s a different set of rules and regulations and new emergency procedures to learn for electric trains. One of the big things is the new train management system – a computer system. A lot is automatic and the train does a lot of things for the drivers.
Hull Trains' new trains being constructed at the Hitachi factory in Pistoia, Italy.
“Most of what the drivers have been saying is that they just want to get out and drive the new trains. From a driver’s point of view the new trains will be a much cleaner and quieter environment and much quicker.
“It is going to be a much different experience to the class 180s which we’ve had for 10 to 11 years prior. The new 802s have fantastic acceleration, especially in electric mode. The acceleration pushes you back in your seat it is so quick.”
The building of the trains began
in Japan in May 2018, with the shells of all five trains shipped to Italy by
March this year.
The first two trains to be complete will be coupled up and brought to the UK together, with route details, dates and timings set to be released in the coming weeks.
The five new Class 802 Hitachi trains will replace the entire current fleet of Class 180s and revolutionise travel from Hull to London.
Once the trains arrive in the
UK, Hitachi will be carrying out test runs before driver training takes place
and the trains will then be rolled into the timetable one by one.
The fifth and final train will have arrived in the UK and the entire new fleet will be in passenger use by December 31.