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HS2 rolls out augmented reality for staff training

Immersive technology will support processes around the development of high-speed railway’s London super hub before it is built

Immersive augmented reality (AR) technology is being deployed to train staff who will run the London hub of the UK’s new high-speed railway, HS2.

In the project, supported by Innovate UK and the Department for Transport, HS2 will work with high-tech SMEs Pauley and Inventia, as well as the National College for High Speed Rail, to create a detailed replica of the new station at Old Oak Common, which will handle about 275,000 passengers a day.

“To accommodate that number of people in a pleasant, safe and efficient environment, it is crucial that staff know the station’s workings in detail,” said Mike Luddy, stations director at HS2.

“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.”

The AR technology enables the user to see Old Oak Common station in detail. The aim is to train employees around customer experience, station maintenance and safety, so they can develop the skills to manage the station efficiently before it is even built.

HS2 also hopes to use the technology to support the actual development of the Old Oak Common hub, as trainees will be able to provide feedback to its designers on their experience of running the station, so changes can be made ahead of the building process.

The technology is also expected to play a role at other stations beyond training, in areas such as refurbishments and upgrades.

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