I was lucky enough this week to take part in our latest batch of PTS training at the Colas Rail training facility in Purley. The course started on Monday with a day of E-learning which could either be completed at home or at the training facility. Following this there was a test next morning which you needed to get 18 out of 20 or you were sent home to re-read the material before booking the test again. If you were competent enough to gain the required pass mark, you started on a 2 day mixture of practical and classroom assessments. On completion of the 2 days you are now deemned competent enough to obtain your Sentinel Card.
The E-learning day was based in front of a computer screen whilst you read, listened to and watched various scenarios on rail safety. At the end of each section your knowledge was then tested with numerous multiple choice questions.
On the start of the next day the test was waiting for us. There were 3 of us from Downwell and 1 from Inner City Environmental ready to complete the test, including 3 other gentlemen from different companies. You had 45 minutes to complete the closed book test with 20 questions being displayed on the wall via a projector. Each question was only displayed for 60 seconds before automatically changing to the next. The pass mark was 18 out of 20 with no leniency if you got 17. I am pleased to say that the Downwell and Inner City group all got above the required pass mark but the for the other 3 it was not such a good result. they all got under the mark and had to rebook their test.
The days activities then began with dressing up in full PPE and going out onto the live railway next to the training centre. Standing at a safe distance we were shown the different components of the track, the hazards to be aware of and how to correctly acknowledge a passing train. We then went back into the classroom for more safety theory and assessments. The third and final day took us onto a mock up of a conductor rail track, to show us the different components, how to safely cross the rail and how to use emergency train warning equipment.
The course was one of the best I had been on and I would like to thank the trainer at Colas for a very informative few days. Courses can become mundane and repetitive but this was well designed and carried out. It really drives home the importance of rail safety and how it affects everyone. I would highly recommend this course and provider to anyone wishing to work on the railway.