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Right on Track for Specialist school Railway Enthusiasts



Budding railway enthusiasts from a specialist school for autism in Lancashire became station assistants and signallers for the day at Manchester Piccadilly station.


The students from Hillside Specialist School and College, near Preston, got a behind the scenes tour at the major Northwest station.


The group visited the station's Assisted Travel Lounge, station control room and the Manchester Piccadilly signal box.


The Assisted Travel Lounge (pictured below) is a quiet and welcoming waiting area for passengers with additional mobility and sensory needs that has a dedicated team on hand to help.



In the station control room, the pupils saw how important public information announcements are made, and where the safety of 100,000 passengers a day is monitored 24/7.


The students got a taste for railway signalling at Manchester Piccadilly signal box. Using Network Rail’s training simulator, the pupils learnt how to safely control the movement of trains, just like the signallers at the station, who manage trains from the East Midlands, North Wales, Merseyside, Lancashire and Cumbria.


“A few of our pupils have taken an interest in working in the rail industry,” said Emma Pettitt, Assistant Head at Hillside Specialist School and College.


“This was the perfect opportunity for the pupils to get an insight into some different career options.”


Hillside Specialist School and College is based in Longridge, Lancashire. The school specialises in communication and interaction for pupils with autism aged between three and 19 years old.

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