A landmark moment for Hull Trains’ drivers has been marked as the first drivers enter the next stage of training ahead of the arrival of the new £60 million fleet.
So far, the work has been based around the classroom, on simulators and in static cabs.
However, the first 18 of Hull Trains’ drivers will be testing their knowledge on moving trains using TransPennine Express’ 802s operating them up and down from Peterborough.
The first of the five new trains is due to arrive in the UK during the first week in September and is on time to be rolled into passenger use in early November.
The five new Class 802 Hitachi trains will replace the entire current fleet of Class 180s and revolutionise travel from Hull to London.
What did the officials say?
Bruce Davidson is the driving force training the new staff. He said:
“The cabs on the TransPennine trains are similar to the ones they will be driving on the new 802s.
“So far the training is going well. It started in late May with the last drivers set to finish their training in late November.”
“Driving a train is not like driving a new car. It’s 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.”
“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 10-11 years prior. The new 802s have fantastic acceleration, especially in electric mode. The acceleration pushes you back in your seat it is so quick.”
Managing Director Louise Cheeseman said:
“The hard work started for our staff when we announced that the new fleet was going ahead and the team is gearing up for the arrival on the new trains. Everything is going well and on time and I can’t wait for the new trains to be in service.
“I’m anticipating we will be the best train operating company in the UK with these trains revolutionising rail travel between Hull and London.
“The technology involved in the new trains will mean we can continue to run services where overhead wires have been damaged. There is also improved access ability and the storage facilities are better. There will be more seats and the new trains are more environmentally friendly too.”