“Train two, your route is set.”
That’s an example of something you might hear in Valley Metro’s rail Operations Control Center.
There is a lot that goes into running a dynamic transit system like Valley Metro Rail. Passengers can see train operators transporting them from point A to point B but what they don’t see, or rather hear, is one vital aspect of their job.
Operators are in constant communication with line controllers, who are based in the OCC.
Train operators will communicate with line controllers for various reasons. Whether it has to do with something that is spotted on the train, on a platform or while moving down the tracks, operators can communicate many different things with line controllers.
A common example includes a potential issue with traffic signals. If there is a timing issue with traffic signals, trains could be delayed.
“The most important part is to stay on the same page,” said former train operator and current line controller Rodrick Evans. “Communication is a key ingredient.”
Operators will also utilize their radio if they see anything on the train that could impact passengers, such as a spilled beverage or a disturbance.
Communicating a message like that would something like this…
“Train seven to OCC, eastbound, track one, Center Parkway/Washington. I have reports of a spill in 117 Bravo.”
In that scenario, the operator specifies the train number, their location, the direction they are headed and the specific train car that has the spill.
Like any position that requires radio activity, there is a specific protocol that is used when communicating. That ensures communication is consistent, precise, and respectful.
“Due to the sensitive nature of our work, radio protocol is extremely important,” says line controller Cynthia Loiselle said.
It takes a continuous effort to stay up to date with radio protocol.
Strong communication between train operators and line controllers is just another example of how Valley Metro helps connect communities and enhance lives daily.