Part 2: The first few weeks

27. 06. 2018

Driving a locomotive of over 80 tonnes – this is the goal to which seven young Italian colleagues, who started their training with RCG in Germany in March of 2018, are aspiring. And with each day, they are getting closer to this goal.

The seven prospective train drivers have already wrapped up the first few weeks of locomotive driver training; these included a great deal of theory, the first practical parts and exams. This training segment also gave them the chance to experience their first very own train ride. Our young colleagues are doing an excellent job: they have passed every exam so far, and their trainers have only good things to say: “We haven’t seen a group as motivated as this one for a long time. The young drivers in training are full of curiosity and are really eager to discover and experience the exciting world of the railway. It is refreshing to accompany them throughout their training and to play a part in helping them realise their dreams”, enthuses lecturer Volker Strobach from the Eisenbahn-Bildungs-Akademie (railway training academy) .

The theory

The training started off with a focus on the theory. The young train drivers were introduced to the basics of railway operations and railway accident prevention regulations. The intensive course to become a certified brake tester taught them all about how the brakes are designed, as well as the rules and intervals for brake tests. All trainees passed the brake tester examination with good results. But there was no time to rest on their laurels – this was immediately followed by the preparation for the exam to become a wagon technician. The topics included wagon technology, inspection criteria for freight wagons, railworthiness as well as how to check technical components and load securing. Once again, all participants passed this exam – wagon technician, level 2 for freight wagons – with flying colours.

Main signals in German

Erste Schritte im Gleisbereich

First steps in the track area

Alongside learning the theory, our seven future train drivers were also already taking their first steps in the track area. Their first practical day at the marshalling yard in Bremen went into more depth on theoretical knowledge: What is a signal? How are the rails and switches constructed? Practical answers to all these questions were provided on site. In the workshop, various locomotives and wagons served as an example to show how the brake system and wheels work together from the perspective of the driver’s cab. The focus here was on the special features of the railway. Our young colleagues also familiarised themselves with the communicative interaction of the railway. They studied all the details of the communication between train drivers and signal boxes as well as making sure the train is ready to drive. For better understanding, the signals from the German regulations were translated into Italian.

Solo train ride

The third day of practical training featured a special highlight. For the first time, the seven future train drivers had the opportunity to control a locomotive (BR223/ÖBB2016) themselves. The shunting runs took place under the instruction of trainers Volker Stroback and Martin Ransbach. And thus the trainees got a first taste of their future job.

In good hands

RCG is very invested in the young Italians’ success. RCG training leader Martin Ransbach meets up with the class and the lecturers in Bremen every other week in order to discuss concerns and wishes. Together, they work through any language deficits. Our young colleagues feel very well taken care of by RCG and are thrilled with their competent and dedicated trainers.