Train Sim World 2
Cathcart Circle Line - Driver's Eye View
We are joined today by Ian Gilfillan from ScotRail to discuss what it’s like to drive on a modern Glasgow suburban network and the experience of operating a BR Class 314...
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what your role is within ScotRail?
Hi, and thanks for having me! I am currently an Operations Competence Manager within ScotRail. There’s a lot of variety within the role, for example I conduct reviews of drivers, verify new trainee drivers for the company and we also govern the ScotRail operations manual which are guidance for our train crew and depot managers. We conduct signal sighting too and work in collaboration with Network Rail so if they are re-signaling the line, we give recommendations regarding braking capabilities and traction on that line.
How did you become a driver for ScotRail?
Well, when I was younger I became quite obsessed with the railways and at that time it was mostly diesel locomotives, carriages and freight trains. I know these are around now but back then there was a lot more variety on our railways. I was very enthusiastic about railways back then, and it was the dream of a lot of young boys to become a driver. Initially, I joined as a traction trainee in 1985 at Eastfield Depot in Glasgow and then became a driver at Yoker. I did leave for a short time but came back to ScotRail and again worked as a driver before becoming a driver trainer for 8 years.
What’s the experience of a driver like on a commuter network like Glasgow?
I spent a few years driving at Yoker, a suburban depot to the west of the city. They say that Yoker, along with some of the main depots in London, is one of the most challenging depots due to the number of cautionary (red/yellow) signals you encounter on daily basis, running at low speeds, looking after the doors at each station and because of so many trains on the network! When you’re working an early shift, you’ll see a lot of cautionary signals especially in built up areas or high footfall areas like Partick and Glasgow Queen Street.
Delays can occur because of trains ahead, so concentration levels need to be high because you might be running under caution at certain times, your station stops might be altered or different from day to day or run to run. Sometimes you could be driving an express service or an all-stop service so you must be extremely focused. Thankfully, things don’t go wrong very often but you must have a cool head and rely on the extensive training you have had.
What’s your favourite station of the Glasgow suburban network and why?
My favourite is Glasgow Central. It’s more than a suburban station obviously being a main line for Intercity and trains going South. I just love everything about it. At night-time, the approach to it is just phenomenal with the lighting and the signals that a driver would see. They are very complex, so as a driver you would need to be alert to driving in and out of Glasgow Central. When you get off the train, the magnitude of it, it’s just such a lovely building and the architecture is incredible.
Glasgow Central Station is important to the city of Glasgow, especially to the older generation, as it was the start of holidays for many people, whether they were going to Blackpool or somewhere else on the coast. It’s also a meeting place for people greeting friends or family and then saying goodbye to them.
What is the BR Class 314 like to drive?
The acceleration (on 314) was exceptional. They were fast and the brakes were ‘different’ although, some people would argue that they weren’t as good as what we had before. You always had to be wary of them as they could be prone to wheel slip (WSP) approaching stations and some brakes were softer than others. But overall, they were particularly good to drive. They were prone to rain/loud whistles and drafts at high speeds coming in through the gangway door so if you shut the wee door next to you, you would become quite cosy with the heaters on and you didn’t notice all the bad points.
A couple of tips I would give to players when taking off from a station would be to bring the brake down from ‘Step 3’ to ‘Step 1’, go into ‘notch 1’ of the power and then release the brake. Only do this once you have achieved power to prevent the train from rolling back or rolling forward. Don’t accelerate too hard or too fast, because remember, they are prone to WSP (Wheel Slip) because of the amount of traction motors they have. Lastly, brake well in advance of arrival into the station.
What’s your favourite thing about the BR Class 314?
Personally, I found the whole cab area nice and spacious. As I said before, I liked shutting the door and keeping warm as they had good heaters. They were really comfy to drive and you could stand up driving them as well if you got to the stage where you needed to increase your alertness.. You could change your driving position easily and you also had the option to open the non-drivers side cab door to view passengers getting on and off the train. On the driver's side you had the option of doing that or using the cab window.
What was it like on the line around the farewell tours for the loco?
So, the train went over a few routes like Glasgow Central to Ayr and back. It also went to Cumbernauld. I drove the last leg from Glasgow Central to Helensburgh and then back to Glasgow Central where the train terminated. We took the empty carriages to Shields and that was the last passenger service. Unfortunately, it was dark as it was the week before Christmas. On the tour there were lots of photographers and people recording the event. When we left Glasgow Central about 16:30, there were a lot of people taking pictures or just there to see the last 314 leave Glasgow High Level.
Actually, last December I was involved in taking a BR Class 314 that had been sitting at Yoker depot for 12 months to Shields and it powered up ok after a year of doing nothing!
What do you think about the Cathcart Circle on Train Sim World?
It looks fantastic and really realistic. I’m particularly impressed with the cabin detail and the fact that your BR Class 314 even has a dirty front end which they normally had!
Train Sim World 2: Cathcart Circle Line is coming soon to Steam, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Stay up to date with everything on this route by following @TrainSimWorld on Twitter and Facebook.
Train Sim World 2
Cathcart Circle Line - Driver's Eye View