Here's the recreation of a 2005 gallery from my old website:
First Scotrail and Virgin trains are currently training their drivers on how to cope with the autumn leaf-fall season and general low-adhesion. The work is carried out on the Bo'ness and Kinneil railway using Scotrail Class 158's. The programme is a joint initiative between the two companies, with Virgin trains developing the training package and providing the Instructors, whilst First Scotrail provides the Class 158 unit. To make the experience more life-like. The 158 has its sanders de-activated. Virgin set up the school to help drivers new to the industry plus brief those who have joined from other companies. Drivers who may have experienced SPADs themselves are also encouraged to attend. The programme starts in the classroom at Bo’ness when the drivers are schooled in using different braking techniques by Virgin’s Head of Training, Graeme Singer. As well as braking techniques Graeme discusses other SPAD problems and general driving techniques, with participants swapping their own personal stories. In the afternoon, drivers are taken out in a Scotrail 158 to experience skids in real life. Firstly a driver tries to stop at a dummy signal using normal speeds and braking distances – only with the rails covered in ‘washing-up’ liquid! The results can be spectacular with trains overrunning by up to half a mile! Whilst their colleague drives, the other people on the course complete a test-paper on the morning’s lesson. On the second run, the driver will try a different technique in the same conditions. By braking earlier and more gently, the train is invariably stopped safely without SPADing. This series of pictures show what a day at the school is like.
© Paul Bigland Photography