New Simulators Arrive at Watco’s Safe Performance Center

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
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Watco’s Safe Performance Center (SPC) recently added six new FRA Type II locomotive simulators to its lab, the short line holding company announced in the November 2023 issue of its magazine, The Dispatch.

According to Watco, existing stationary simulators were retrofitted to match the same capabilities of the new machines. Once noticeable upgrade are the new motion seats, which Senior Manager of Rail Safety Training Lucas Conrad says, “makes the training even more real for students.”

“The motion seat helps immerse students into different scenarios,” said Conrad. “They learn the feeling of different train movements, whether it’s going around a curve, stopping on a descending grade, or something else.”

All 10 simulators now offer a new training exercise on the Austin Westin Railroad (AWRR). Educational scenarios on parts of the Stillwater Central Railroad (SLWC), Blue Ridge Southern Railroad (BLU), and CSX are also available on simulators.

Sudent engineers attending training at the SPC can expect to spend up to 12 hours on a simulator, an increase from previous years, Watco says, which averaged 6-8 training hours per student.

Student Engineer Logan O’Connell, who recently returned to the Fox Valley & Lake Superior Railway (FOXY) after completing training at the SPC said, “My time in the simulation lab was valuable. The exercises prepared me to respond to real-world scenarios.”

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