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01.05.15

Driver training on the London Overground

Source: RTM Apr/May 15

LOROL is proud of its comprehensive and creative driver training model that is helping to have a positive impact on driver retention, engagement and safety on the network. Terry Colbourn, operations standards manager, discusses LOROL’s approach to driver training and outlines future plans for training and supporting this key business role.

When London Overground Rail Operations Limited (LOROL) took over the London Overground concession in November 2007, we seized the opportunity to design and develop a driver training programme that reflected the requirements of the modern railway industry and was built around risk-based competency standards for train drivers. 

Our approach to training focuses on teaching LOROL drivers on what they need to know to drive LOROL trains, especially within a highly intensive inner-suburban metro railway. 

Delivery is a blend of theory and practical lessons that encourage trainees to take responsibility for their learning. 

Wherever possible, trainees experience a practical lesson before discussing the theory behind it and LOROL trainees quickly become familiar with the fleet, use the driver training simulator and carry out slow-speed movements in a depot and yard environment within the first few weeks of their 31-week training course. 

During training, trainee drivers are taken through the basics of normal train operation, and only when they are competent and confident do we introduce learning around degraded and emergency operations. 

We want LOROL drivers to learn the basics before we introduce more complex and challenging approaches to train driving.

Nicholas Owen 'driving' the simulator EDIT resize 635684882801105168

The key competencies that have been defined for LOROL’s drivers – communicated across the business as a top 10 checklist of personal and behavioural attributes or non-technical skills (see box) – have also been central to the success of the driver training programme. 

The checklist forms the basis of assessments and progress reviews for all drivers, as well as forming a key element of the recruitment and selection of new trainee drivers. 

LOROL is fortunate to have a highly motivated and enthusiastic group of trainers, both classroom based as well as driver instructors out on the network. We also have a team of drivers who want to do their very best and be acknowledged for this. 

We’re able to achieve the high standards of driver training because of the support we have from management at all levels of the business who are approachable and available to ensure any issues are addressed promptly, alongside making the resources and materials available to support training.

One of the ways we’re able to keep drivers engaged with the training programme is our regular and constant review of feedback following the delivery of courses, as well as learning from incidents happening within the company and the wider railway industry to ensure that lessons from these events are included and reflected in future training. 

Taking this approach, we think, will help to ensure we continue to be recognised as one of the most highly respected training centres in the rail industry. 

It’s already something that Halcrow stated in their independent validation of the LOROL driver training model: “Halcrow considers that the changes LOROL has made to driver training are now setting leading edge standards, which other rail companies may wish to benchmark themselves against…” 

To keep our approach to training fresh, we recently produced a series of driver training DVDs to support our training framework and highlight how factors relating to an individual driver, their employer and the very role of train driving can influence how a driver performs while they are at work. 

Overload DVD cover resize 635684882940631268

Each DVD looks at one aspect of this, covering lifestyle issues, the use of mobile devices in the railway environment and, most recently, how drivers can maintain situational awareness and stay on top of work and personal relationships, as well as the relationship between drivers and driver managers. 

p2 Download DVD Cover rgb resize 635684883161716775

The positive impact of initiatives such as the training DVDs can be seen in improved passenger and network safety. For example, over the last year the number of SPAD (signal passed at danger) incidents on the Overground has dropped by 50% and for the last three consecutive railway periods there have been no reported SPADs.  

During this time, we have trained and qualified over 400 drivers, as LOROL routes and service frequencies have continued to expand to cope with a huge increase in customer demand. 

LOROL has several new driver training courses running at any one time, but alongside this we are continuing to deliver training sessions for key strategic projects, such as the introduction of five-car trains across the Overground which will see LOROL’s capacity increase by 25%. 

Looking at the year ahead, we are also looking into diversity training, conflict avoidance and better communication as possible topics for future safety update days for our driver population.

Top 10 attributes

  1. The degree of awareness, anticipation and forward thinking
  2. Attention to detail, willingness to work safely and follow rules diligently
  3. Ability to assess risks, prioritise actions and solve problems logically
  4. Clarity and completeness when communicating and seeking advice whenever necessary
  5. Personal appearance, tidiness, timekeeping and punctuality
  6. Level of confidence and personal organisation
  7. Personal commitment to do well, and to continually learn and self-improve
  8. Ability to remain calm and focused under pressure
  9. Ability to raise attention levels and switch attention to focus on priorities where necessary
  10. Depth of unconscious competence and ability to multi-task

Eat Well, Drive Well DVD launch with Sally Gunnell OBE EDIT resize 635684882619393121

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

Peter Cameron   22/11/2016 at 09:58

i wish to be a train driver work as a trainee can somebody please send me some info asap many thanks. mobile 07405012958

Nicusor   26/01/2017 at 20:24

HY MY NAME IS NICUSOR AND I wish to become a train driver for the moment I am a bus driver my English language is not really good. I would have a chance to become a train driver??

Liam Houston   20/02/2018 at 19:21

I would like to work with the London Overground or underground.Im from the States looking become part of a promising work environment.Im looking to work on the platforms where I can interact with the public as I have great people skills.Please get back to me and thank you greatly.

Liam Houston   20/02/2018 at 19:21

I would like to work with the London Overground or underground.Im from the States looking become part of a promising work environment.Im looking to work on the platforms where I can interact with the public as I have great people skills.Please get back to me and thank you greatly.

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