HS2 pioneers augmented reality for rail super hub of the future

South East | Transport & Distribution

train stationIn a UK-first, the power of immersive augmented reality is being harnessed to train staff who will run the HS2 north London super hub at Old Oak Common.

The project sees HS2 Ltd partner with high-tech S.M.E., PAULEY; the National College for High Speed Rail; and Inventya. Together they will work with Old Oak Common station designers, specialist engineers WSP, to develop augmented reality (AR) training for the station’s future staff.

HS2 Ltd’s Stations Director, Mike Luddy, said: “From its earliest days Old Oak Common will be one of the UK’s busiest and best-connected stations. Serving both HS2 and the Elizabeth line (Crossrail) it is designed to handle around 275,000 passengers every day. To accommodate that number of people in a pleasant, safe and efficient environment, it’s crucial that staff know the station’s workings in detail.

“The challenge is that Old Oak Common station hasn’t been built yet. So to train the station’s entirely new workforce with the skills and knowledge they will need we must innovate. Through this project, which is supported by Innovate UK and the DfT, we’re harnessing the power of digital technology to build Old Oak Common in augmented reality.”

Future staff entering an augmented reality world will be trained in delivering a great customer experience, station maintenance and safety so they can develop the skills to efficiently manage the station before ever setting foot in it.

The AR training will have spin-off benefits for developing Old Oak Common station itself. Trainees can provide feedback to its designers on their experience of running the super hub, so plans can be honed before it is built and help avoid making later and costly changes to the building itself.

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