Rail operator Trenitalia c2c has announced it will open a new Driver Simulator Academy in Southend.

The new development is set to enhance the training of its new drivers, offering them a hands-on experience in managing a train in controlled yet realistic conditions.

Key features of the academy include Trenitalia c2c’s latest Class 720 and 357 simulators, both of which provide highly detailed virtual renderings of the c2c route and stations.

Trainees can learn how to deal with a range of emergency situations via simulations of potential incidents on an active railway line.

The academy also boasts two instructor stations, where trainers can control simulators, set scenarios and customise challenges for each trainee.

Additionally, two training rooms will allow group training to take place where performance can be observed and commented on in real time.

Fleet delivery improvement manager, Sabato Citro, who led the two-year project, said: "The simulators can replicate train services for the full length of c2c’s network, from London Fenchurch Street and London Liverpool Street stations to Shoeburyness station using three different types of routes."

He explained realistic computer-generated imagery would report a wide range of variables including c2c's rail network, speed restrictions, depots and sidings, and well-known London land views.

Mr Citro added: "In addition, the instructor can create various weather conditions, incidents and a large range of accidents, allowing each driver to react and become familiar with rare emergency scenarios."

(Image: c2c)

Managing director Rob Mullen said: "It’s an incredible achievement for the c2c team to have our first simulator for our fantastic new trains.

"It’s a great step up, so well done to everyone involved."

Expressing her excitement at the launch, operations and engineering director, Laura McEwen, added: "It has been a long journey; this project has been tricky at times, bringing with it some challenges, so I’m incredibly proud to see the academy open.

"It is a real step forward and is bringing us in line with the rest of the industry when it comes to our training provision.

"I’m looking forward to our future and current drivers benefiting from the new academy."