Rail & Public Transport

Route knowledge for train drivers

To be allowed to drive a train from A to B, drivers must have – apart from a general aptitude and knowledge / experience with certain rolling stock - also Route knowledge.

In practice, however, the concept of Route knowledge is interpreted differently. This is confirmed by a court judgment following a train accident. The Foundation for Occupational Health in Professional Transportation (SAGB) has therefore funded a study by Intergo to consider the concept of Route knowledge from different angles:
- The legal framework
- The current practice
- Psychological perspective: what is its function and how to obtain Route knowledge.
The report shows that the Dutch term for Route knowledge (Wegbekendheid) barely knows a legal basis. In practice, there is indeed no common definition, but it seems to concern a historically grown phenomenon. The need for a form of knowledge and experience related to driving a certain route is however recognized. It is therefore proposed that the concept Wegbekendheid be replaced by Route Competence. From psychology Intergo developed a model for train driving in which Route Competence has a recognizable place. It is also clear that (obtaining) Route Competence cannot be equal to the memorization of various infrastructure elements. That would be a too narrow interpretation, and it would not match the dynamic nature of driving a train. The report (in Dutch) can be downloaded using the Downloads section on our website.