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RVR Acquires $1.8m Simulator To Improve Train Operating Efficiency

Rift Valley Railways (RVR) has acquired a $1.8 million simulator to improve its train operating efficiency.

Regional rail operator, Rift Valley Railways, has begun training its team of 135 drivers on a$1.8 million train simulator that will improve driver skill and performance, while improving train operating efficiency.

This technology allows the inputting of data gathered from different sections of the railway line to simulate a range of operating parameters and has actual size driver’s cabin with real-life sound cues.

About 40 new drivers have been recruited by the regional rail operator to handle added locomotives. A team of 135 drivers will be trained to improve their driver skills and performance.

The operator navigates the train through a large video display of the track while an on-board computer and monitors assist the driver to operate the train.

This simulator is manufactured by the New York Air Brake Corporation, a leading producer of high-technology train control systems for the railroad industry worldwide.

RVR’s senior systems specialist, KahigaWanderi said drivers will have a true-life experience on the railway.

“A topography team mapped our entire mainline track from Mombasa to Kampala which means drivers can have a true-life experience of driving on the railway before getting into a train. This will optimise train operating conditions, further reducing the number of incidents, cut transit time and reduce fuel consumption which increases our capacity to move more cargo for customers,” he said.

RVR will double its existing locomotives capacity by the end of June next year. Twenty of these are American built locomotives with General Electric engines acquired at a cost of sh2.2 billion.

“We have already deployed three of the 20 US-made locomotiveswe expect to receive by April next year. We are now looking to enlist 40 new train drivers and develop their skills with this equipment in readiness for this extra locomotive capacity,” Andrade added.

In his remarks at the launch, JaafarOkeng’oan RVR train driver said: “The simulator gives you a real experience of the many controls in the train cabin and allows you to test tricky sections along the railway track in advance.This makes it easier and faster to get it right when you’re actually driving the train.”

In July, RVR commissioned two high capacity railway track maintenance machines that automate and hasten track restoration.

The Ballast Tamper and Ballast Profiler machines arrange displaced ballast and restore the track to the technically required geometric alignment at a speed of one kilometer per hour compared to only 40 meters per hour using manual processes.

The rail operator rehabilitated 73 kilometres of railway track between Mombasa and Nairobi and installed of GPS-based train operating technology on all trains. This helped cut cargo transit times between the two cities by six hours.

RVR has also rebuilt nine crumbling culverts near Jinja allowing the direct movement of heavy trains to Uganda.

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