£2.7m immersive training centre to increase safety for rail workers

The first purpose-built rail safety centre of its kind in the North of England, has been officially opened by the Minister for Rail Huw Merriman MP in Huddersfield, as part of the multi-billion-pound Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU).

Merriman described the opening of the new TRUST centre as a "major milestone" for the Transpennine Route Upgrade.

He added the programme to upgrade the route was not only creating greener and more reliable services across the North, but it’s now taking vital steps to create a well-trained and highly skilled workforce.

“Safety remains at the heart of our railways and this centre will ensure it’s in the mind of every member of staff working on the project too,” he said.

The new centre will enable everyone working on the project between Manchester and York to undertake a one-day interactive training programme, which will use actors to place participants at the heart of a hard-hitting narrative.

Through the immersive programme, the trainees will witness the actions, decisions and events which could lead to a fatal incident on the rail tracks.

During interactive, facilitated workshops attendees will engage with the characters in real-world scenarios, including in their home, a police interview and work canteen, learning the communications skills they can put into practice to improve safety in the workplace.

They are then encouraged to apply these as they are transported back into the story.

Neil Holm, Managing Director of Transpennine Route Upgrade, said the opening of the ground-breaking TRUST centre embodied the ethos that safety sits at the heart of the multi-billion-pound Transpennine Route Upgrade.

“We want to ensure that everybody gets home safe every day," he said.

"As we work to bring cleaner, faster and better journeys between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York, the safety of our teams has never been more important.

“TRUST centre training will be undertaken by everyone working on our programme, both working in offices and on the frontline.

"It’s important that colleagues from planning, design, delivery and all of our functions understand how the decisions we all make are crucial when it comes to safety."

He added taking an immersive approach would allow workers to absorb and remember their training more clearly and for longer.

Councillor Cathy Scott, Acting Leader of Kirklees Council, says: “One of the great assets for our economy here in Kirklees is our connectivity, and the Transpennine Route Upgrade will massively enhance this. 

"But as well as providing a boost to our economy in the future, this huge project is providing work and opportunities for local people right now – and that’s only set to increase as work on the TRU ramps up over the coming years. 

"Investment like this is about long-term benefit, but long before we reach the end point of the upgrade we’ll see economic benefits and a skilled workforce for Kirklees."

She added: “It’s fantastic to see that those delivering the TRU are being trained and upskilled using the latest technologies and, frankly, great creativity – and that the Minister of State for Transport is showing such a keen interest in this work, how it will affect our local area and local people.”

If you would like to contact Sarah Walker about this, or any other story, please email