The driver-simulator building at Plymouth station, which houses GWR simulators for training drivers on the new long-distance Intercity Express Trains and Castle Class trains that operate local and regional services, has been moved to the east of the site as part of the station’s redevelopment scheme.
The simulators are used both to teach new drivers how to control the different types of train before they start in-cab training and to allow qualified drivers the chance to practice driving scenarios or analyse incidents.
The building was moved as part of the creation of Brunel Plaza, the multi-million-pound regeneration scheme being constructed in the area surrounding Plymouth’s station.
Work has also started on the main concourse of the railway station as part of a huge package to completely transform this key entrance to the city. The first phase of the concourse is now underway, and changes include doubling the number of gates at the ticket line to improve the flow of people in and out of the platform areas.
Council leader Tudor Evans OBE said: “We are changing the entire look and feel of the station. Bit by bit, we are relocating buildings, knocking parts down or redeveloping others to utterly transform Plymouth station.
“Instead of walking out of the concourse to face a concrete 1970s car park, people will be walking out to a buzzing open plaza with shops and offices. It’s an epic project. We have been talking about these plans now for a few years but now, now we are seeing work on the ground and I couldn’t be happier.”
Earlier this year, the Brunel Plaza project was awarded an additional £4.17 million for Phase 2 of Brunel concourse development, which entails a wholesale refurbishment of the tired and dated entrance which has not had any significant investment since the 1980s.
The façade will be upgraded, more modern shopping space created and more self-service ticket banks will be installed.
On the other side of the ticket line, there are plans to create a new waiting area to shield passengers from the rain and cold Plymouth has from time to time. The main entrance will also be moved closer to Intercity Place.
A new hotel and multi-storey car park, and improvements to public areas and links to the city centre are also in the pipeline.
Head of public affairs for GWR Jane Jones said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Plymouth City Council, the University, Network Rail and both Cornwall and Heart of South West LEPs. The regeneration of Brunel Plaza will mean a much-improved welcome to the city, and it is great to see the driver simulators in their new position, ready for the next stage of work in the development.”