What does a one-hundred and fifty-seven year old railroad company like Union Pacific turn to in order to reach out to new, modern-age employees? Why video games, of course.
Searching for new ways to train an influx of younger railroad workers, Union Pacific employees Jon Jensen and Steve Bakuna turned to our favourite hobby, helping design a virtual training program that teaches employees how to manoeuvre locomotives, operate switches, and sort cars onto different tracks depending on destination.
"Video gamers, like those who play Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, feel right at home using Union Pacific's latest training technology," said Scott Hinckley, general director-safety and security. "This is a natural training medium for employees who grew up in the video gaming environment and it enhances their extensive safety and operation training."
Taking two years to develop, the first Rail Operations Simulation program was a re-creation of Union Pacific's Cheyenne Yard, which wound up so popular and effective that there it is now being used at forty-five different locations throughout the Union Pacific Network.
Honestly I'm surprised it's taken them this long to catch on, as railroad simulators have been popular with hobbyists around the world for decades now. I guess sometimes it's hard to train an old train company new train training tricks.