Image shows schoolgirls on a tour of Newton Heath TrainCare Centre

Science students from girls school in Greater Manchester quiz Northern staff about careers in rail industry

A group of 30 students from Fairfield High School for Girls in Droylsden, Greater Manchester have quizzed Northern staff about career opportunities in the rail industry during a visit to a train maintenance facility earlier today.

The visit was organised by Northern and Community Rail Network as part of Community Rail Week 2024, an event designed to encourage and enable more people to use the train as a sustainable, healthy and inclusive way to travel.

The train operator invited the girls, who are all studying science as part of their GCSEs, to Newton Heath TrainCare Centre in Manchester, which is home to 139 of the 345 trains in the Northern fleet.

They were kitted-out in personal protective equipment before being taken on a tour of the facility by Northern's performance improvement specialist, Tom Power.

They met the engineers that maintain Northern’s Class 150, 156 and 195 trains before sitting down for a question-and-answer session with Northern and Community Rail Network staff.

Topics discussed included career opportunities in the rail industry, travel confidence, sustainable travel and how barriers to travel can be overcome.

Tricia Williams, managing director of Northern, said: “The rail industry offers great career opportunities for those passionate about science and technology – and it’s important we highlight the synergy between those subjects and modern train operations as we seek to attract the best and brightest into the sector.

“I hope the girls’ visit to Newton Heath today has given them a fresh perspective on what working in the rail industry looks like – and that we’ve sparked an interest today that will lead to a job application in the near future.”

Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network, said: “Rail can be much more than a mode of travel: a catalyst for positive change, unlocking opportunities, connecting communities, and enabling climate-friendly mobility.

“The community rail movement shows how communities and railways, and the wider transport sector, can work together with amazing results, enhancing local places and changing lives.

“From engaging young people on travel confidence and advising train operators on accessibility and inclusion, to active travel and bus-rail integration, community gardens and social enterprises at stations: community rail is playing a growing role in harnessing the power of rail to create a more connected, inclusive and sustainable future.”

The first train maintenance facility opened at Newton Heath in 1876. In 2020, Northern completed a £20m revamp to significantly increase the maintenance capability of the TrainCare Centre.

Since 2022, it has been the home of Northern’s Intelligent Trains programme, a project to make journeys by railway safer and more efficient.

Last year, the team at Newton Heath received an industry ‘Silver Spanner’ award in recognition of their work on the Class 195 fleet.

For more information about Community Rail Network and Community Rail Week, visit:

Northern is the second largest train operator in the UK, with nearly 2,500 services a day to more than 500 stations across the North of England.

Contact Information

Northern Trains Press Office