SLC Operations launches revolutionary new 3D traction training product

SLC Operations, a UK train operator and driver training specialist, will launch an exciting new 3D training product through its training division, The Rail Academy.

This new offer is being launched at the Rolling Stock Networking event in Derby on Thursday 30th September – with an opportunity for visitors to view a taster and experience it in Virtual Reality. The Rail Academy – working with its partners Creactive Design – can produce the 3d and virtual reality training materials for any type of rolling stock – even those still in production or design – and create new or established operator training materials.

For the first time, many operators will be able to easily refresh train drivers and operational staff on any traction, at any time, at any location without being restricted by simulator locations or visiting a train on a depot or in service.

Cath Bellamy, Managing Director of SLC Operations and the Rail Academy explains more: “Keeping train drivers and on board staff up to date and confident on the traction they must operate is critical to safety and performance. But for most companies, getting access to rolling stock to refresh their staff can be inefficient, expensive and logistically difficult.

“This is a particular challenge for staff who operate seasonal rolling stock or who must learn and refresh large fleets – some they may operate infrequently.

“Whilst these tools won’t replace the practical handling experience needed, we believe they can play a very important role in providing more convenient and more frequent refresh training, as well as giving new staff important familiarisations during their early training.”

This move is a quick win for the rail industry at a time when it is struggling to recover from the training backlog created by COVID 19 and makes training more appealing, modern and efficient.

Cath Bellamy continued, “As important, is the fact we can turn around these exciting materials in a matter of weeks – not the months taken by others – so they can be put to use very quickly.”

Watch a video to see the training materials in action:


Rail organisations step up to provide one-off service for Rail Live

  • Delegates will get the chance to travel on Vivarail’s emission-free Class 230 between Honeybourne and Long Marston

Vivarail, Transport for Wales (TfW), SLC Operations, Rail Operations Group, and Network Rail will be joining forces to provide a rail event shuttle service between Honeybourne station and Long Marston for this year’s Rail Live 2021 on 16 and 17 June.

The service will give delegates the opportunity to sample one of Vivarail’s innovative battery powered Class 230s, which has been specially designed for TfW services and loaned by the operator for this event.

Adrian Shooter, CEO of Vivarail said:  “With more focus on how the industry can decarbonise, we’re pleased to be supporting Rail Live and showcasing the future of emission-free trains.  This is your chance to see for yourself the reality of battery powered trains.”

The service will be operated by SLC Operations’ drivers and guards under the passenger licence of Rail Operations Group and access agreement by Network Rail.

Cath Bellamy, Managing Director of SLC Operations said: “We’re always delighted to help and support all our clients with their operational needs.    “It’s been a busy year helping our clients with driver and train manager hire, rolling stock collection, mileage accumulation and also establishing The Rail Academy to provide specialist Train Driver Training services, but it’s fantastic that we can come together with partners to support Rail Live delegates attend this important event.”

Rail Live will be a much-needed opportunity for the entire rail industry to come together again to see live plant demonstrations and rolling stock on display, network with representatives, learn about new innovations and speak to expert speakers on key industry topics.

You can find out more about Vivarail at Rail Live at stand L29 or by visiting  Find out more about SLC Operations at

Photo credit:   Peter Tandy

Rail organisations step up to provide one-off service for Rail Live

Delivering final assessments for train driver level 3 apprentices

SLC Operations, one of the SLC group of companies, has met the criteria set out by the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) allowing it to start delivering End Point Assessments for Train Driver Level 3 apprentices across all rail sectors. It becomes only the second company – and first train operator – in the UK to achieve this approval.

The assessments will be carried out by its team of qualified Driver Instructors and Assessors, through its training operation “The Rail Academy” based in Kings Norton, Birmingham.   The Rail Academy has purpose-built training facilities but can also host remote assessments to support operators across the UK and meet COVID-19 restrictions.

Cath Bellamy, Managing Director of SLC Operations said: “It is estimated that over 1,000 people are currently going through training to become Train Drivers in the UK, and most are going through an apprenticeship.  Each one of them needs a final, independent assessment before receiving their apprenticeship award.

“Gaining approval to deliver these assessments has been a huge task and has taken us 9 months.  But we have done it and are delighted to have begun assessing drivers for on behalf of our first clients Train’d Up and MTR – Elizabeth Line– this month.

“As an experienced team, and a train operator in our own right, we understand the critical significance these assessments hold in defining when and if a trainee is ready to receive their award as well as upholding professional operating and safety standards.   With a queue of trainees reaching the end of their apprenticeship, we are excited to get going.”

This development follows a report at the end of last year by the City & Guilds and National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR), calling on the rail sector and government to collaborate and recommended apprenticeships to urgently gear up the industry’s skills and talent pipelines.

To find out more, visit or; or call 0121 227 5756.

Rail Academy opens in Kings Norton

The Rail has opened its training facility at Kings Norton Depot.  The Rail Academy is part of SLC Operations Ltd – a licensed train operator – and it employs a team of 15 qualified Train Drivers, Train Driver Instructors and Trainee Driver Instructors as well as two Guard Instructors.

In February 2021, it celebrated its first year in business and it now boasts 23 full and part time staff, including 15 train drivers and aims to support rail clients across passenger, freight and M&E as well as developing industry leading, innovative new training technology solutions.

Cath Bellamy, Managing Director of SLC Operations said: “An operating licence, Train Driver Training and Examination Credentials and End Point Assessment approval are not at all easy to achieve and the SLC Ops team has done all three in one year! And that’s on top of setting up our great new base, creating 23 jobs, coping with COVID and supporting three very important rail operations for Balfour Beatty and Vivarail. Frankly only a really professional, committed and talented team could do that. My team at SLC Ops tick all those boxes and I am very proud of them.

“Looking forward, our customers are telling us that they like what we offer and specifically our reliability, customer care and professional safety and operational standards.

“2021 looks like it could be another big year, so we are again recruiting for some exceptional drivers, guards and trainers to help us with that growth and make sure our customers remain delighted with what we do for them.”

SLC Operations is part of a group of SLC businesses that provide a range of specialist rail infrastructure services including design, project management, investment and engineering.