East Midlands Railway has completed unique driving training programmes to allow their Class 180s and Class 170s to enter service.
The operator resumed driver training in August after being forced to stop to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Since resuming, East Midlands Railway has aimed to train 4 drivers per week on the Class 170s at Derby and Nottingham, with an additional 4 drivers on Class 180s at Derby. This allowed the Class 180s to enter service, as planned, on Monday 14th December 2020.
New agreements were made between EMR and union colleagues to make sure training could be completed safely.
Normally, driver training involves more than one person in the confined driver cabs for an extended period of time, so this had to be adapted due to the Coronavirus.
To keep everyone safe, all of the close contact training required the drivers to enter into a COVID-secure training bubble. Every Instructor and Trainee took a coronavirus test every week prior to training.
EMR instructors had to create training material based on information gathered from other TOCs, this included bringing an instructor in from Hull Trains, and support was provided by ScotRail.
Driver training will continue until August 2021, when East Midlands Railway will have trained over 265 Drivers.
Chris Fairclough, Driver Depot Manager for Nottingham, Boston, Lincoln and Norwich EMR, said: “The Driver Training Programme had to be adapted quickly due to Covid-19. With social distancing measures in place, we have worked harder than ever to ensure we could train as many drivers in the safest and quickest way possible.”
“Safety is always kept at the forefront of our operations, and everyone has worked tirelessly to ensure that is the case.”
“With new style trains coming into use, which requires our drivers to re-train on the new models, the pressure has been on to learn everything about how the new fleet operates; from rules and regulations to fire safety, it has not been easy, but I am incredibly proud of all the work that has gone into the Driver Training Programme.”
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