GSM-R App reducing skills fade for Scotrail staff to improve safety on the railway
The GSM-R is a vital system on the train as it is used as a communication tool between the train and railway regulation control centres if there are any problems with the train. If there is an emergency on the train, the GSM-R is the system that is used to request assistance.
One of the challenges Scotrail faced was that drivers and train managers can’t make these calls in a testing environment, unless an emergency takes place, as this impacts all the other trains driving around the network. Scotrail wanted to identify a way to maintain their drivers’ competence around the GSM-R system and reduce skills fade. The GSM-R is also something that all drivers will be tested on throughout their career.
As an organisation, Scotrail identified a need to move away from paper-based learning aids and provide systems to help the drivers maintain their knowledge of different systems. Each driver has a tablet, encompassing all the information they require to do their job, with everything in one place.
Scotrail were introduced to the benefits of Denova’s GSM-R app through other TOCs who were already using the app. They quickly realised that the app would offer existing drivers a much more interactive experience and improve their overall learning. It would also offer a massive benefit to new trainees.
Scotrail previously used a tabletop hardware system in a classroom environment for training new employees as tablets were not standard issue for drivers at the time. The hardware equipment was bulky and hard to store, out-dated and there were some elements of the system that were starting to fail. Also, there were restrictions on the maximum number of people who could undertake the training at any one time. The Denova GSM-R app offered a resolution to this.
Scotrail’s Learning Process
Trainees are invited to attend a one-day session where they will be taken through the various processes and complete the scenarios. The trainers will discuss any errors and help the trainee get to a standard where they pass the course. After that, it will be the individual’s own responsibility to keep themselves to that level and the GSM-R app gives them the opportunity to go and practice the scenarios again. Train Driving Manager, Lee Borland said, “The GSM-R app is highly intuitive. If an individual gets something wrong, it will advise that element is wrong and give the candidate hints and tips to fix the process. The app has been well received by all our drivers. New trainees have completely embraced the technology and find it an easy way to learn. We have included it in our bi-monthly digital brief which has pushed people to try things on the app.”
Trainees and existing drivers also attend full cab simulator training where they can also test the GSM-R. They are working on getting the two pieces of technology to work closely together.
Tailoring the app to Scotrail’s requirements
Lee Borland nominated himself as the internal champion to take on the management and roll out of the GSM-R app. Lee said, “Denova were great and easy to work with. They continually asked us how they could improve the app for our specific needs. Denova ensured they mirrored our processes, so the result was something that met our needs exactly. The process was seamless and working Denova pushed out all the stops to meet our requirements and timescales.”
Benefits of Denova’s GSM-R app for Scotrail trainees
The app offers complete flexibility for learners, providing the ability to learn on the go in an interactive way. When trainees are shown something new, they can take the app away and practice using it, coming back to their manager if they have any questions or issues. It also enables trainers (who are expected to train trainees and experienced drivers) the ability to review the system prior to delivering any training and to demonstrate specific elements to trainees, without having to be on a train.
Lee commented, “Having the GSM-R app has really brought our team into the 21st century. It has improved processes and access to the system for both drivers and trainers. There is a massive benefit of people always having access to the app. We intend to continue using the app for training going forward. We would like to bring in additional computer apps to help with training and help our drivers improve and retain their learning.”