A Tour of the Amtrak Training Facility

Locomotive Simulator

This training room is outside the actual simulator room and is used to watch the current trainees actually using the simulator. To the right (not shown on this shot but on the one below) is a rack of four large monitors that display what is going on in the simulator room. I suspect that eager future engineers sit and watch each other make mistakes in the actual simulator! (768x512 38kb)
To the front right of the above room sits four monitors. The top right is a camera situated in the main simulator room. The top right apparently usually contains control displays from the simulator. Bottom left is the track/train control program and the bottom right is an image of the "outside" of the simulator. (803x527 73kb)
Closeup of the monitor showing camera output inside simulator room. (914x680 51kb)
Camera shot of monitor image of train/track control program. It's a large image (140kb). If you look carefully you can make out the text including the station stops along the NEC. The simulator has the entire NEC defined and is allegedly "accurate to within one foot." For computer geeks, the GUI widgets definitely disclose this to be running on a UNIX system. Apparently the main simulator is running on an SGI system. (1059x813 140kb)
Photo of monitor display of cgi-generated view from the simulator. Note that this is a photo of a screen, not a screenshot. It's a lot clearer than the image implies. It's hard to say whether the Microsoft Train Simulator will be better when it comes out. I wonder how close to "real" the Microsoft Train sim will be. (I can't wait until it's released). According to the Making of Microsoft Train Sim page, the sim programmers visited the Amtrak Training facility and their train simulator to learn how to program theirs to be as close to the "real fake" thing as possible! I encourage you to read this page since it has some other interesting tidbits about the Amtrak Training Center. (773x593 120kb)
Entrance to the simulator room. This room actually contains four different simulators. Three are to the left and feature simulators for the F40, F59, and P40/P42 locomotives. They are, however, not full-motion simulators. They sit in a room with a large screen to the front. To the right is the main attraction, the full motion simulator. (604x512 35kb)
A few steps inside the main simulator room. (768x512 40kb)
The first room to the left is the F40 simulator room. (713x475 33kb)
A 232kb 1665x923 close up (yet somewhat blurry) shot of the controls is also available. Trust me, no one is more upset about my camera's untimely autofocus failure than I am when it comes to shots like this...
The next room to the left is the F59 simulator room. (1625x802 191kb)
The P40/P42 simulator. (760x513 88kb)
A 1106x615 203kb zoom shot is also available.
By the way, these are from my wife's notes and my memory. Not being a fulltime railfan, I may have gaffed some of these identifications. If so, please let me know at atcw @ this domain. I'd really appreciate any information I can receive.
The full-motion main simulator room. This shot is from the rear of the unit. You can see the tracks and machinery that moves the simulator about to simulate motion. (540x360 14kb)
Inside the simulator. Unfortunately, the full motion bit wasn't running for us, but the program was rolling. While in the simulator, the demonstrator cranked up the train to 180 MPH. Even without the motion, it was quite impressive. I felt myself getting dizzy as I guess my brain didn't understand why there was all this motion without the comotion! (1080x720 116kb)
Note that it was dark and the flash pics didn't turn out too well so I used a photo program to lighten up all of the pic except for the CGI output. I didn't do that great of a job so the CGI looks pasted onto the photo. It's not. It's legit. (1080x720 116kb)
Another shot inside the simulator. (720x958 62kb)
A 1322x674 67kb zoom shot of the control panel is also available.

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