Young apprentices show MP their skills in maintaining Great Northern trains

Young apprentice engineers with Great Northern took local MP Catherine West on a tour of their train maintenance depot in Hornsey, north London.

They explained how they have been taught how to maintain Great Northern’s fleet, including the brand-new Moorgate trains, and where they fit in Govia Thameslink Railway’s plans to recruit 140 other apprentices across the business this year.

Tour guides Connor Philpot, William Webster and Rosie-Jayne Wiles are three of the 20 apprentices based at Hornsey depot and all are close to graduating from the four-year scheme.

Depot Manager Scott Last, who joined the tour along with GTR Head of Fleet Production David Poole, said: “Connor, William and Rosie-Jayne really impressed Ms West with the knowledge they have gained here through our apprenticeship scheme.

“We have 40 engineering apprentices across the business – 20 of them here – on a course accredited by the National Training Academy for Rail, and we have plans to recruit 140 more from across all parts of our business including areas such as customer service.

“Together we showed Ms West our new cutting-edge Class 717 Moorgate trains, which are replacing the ageing 40-year-old carriages. They are really transforming journeys for our passengers and the comments we’ve had have been great. We maintain them all, in-house, here at Hornsey, and apprentices are key to growing a skilled workforce in the local area.”

Ms West heard that the depot can trace its railway heritage back to 1850 and is being extensively modified to the tune of £5million to accommodate work on the new trains.

Catherine West MP said: “Hornsey depot has been an important part of the local community for nearly 170 years, and I was really pleased to see how engineering apprenticeships will help ensure that skilled jobs are here to stay. I know that the business is especially keen to see more young women apply and I will be taking that message with me out to schools and colleges in the local area.”

The 25 new six-carriage Class 717 Moorgate trains are being maintained in-house by GTR’s engineering team at its depot in Hornsey, north London.

Almost 100 staff, including 52 fitters, are being trained to work on the new stock, at Hornsey.

The depot, which can trace its railway heritage back to 1850, is also being extensively modified to the tune of £5million to accommodate work on the new trains:

  • Roof gantries are being fitted to 18 and 19 roads to facilitate work on the roof-mounted air-conditioning units
  • The jacking pad has been extended on 23 road to facilitate the lift of the six-car units for bogie repairs (they are fixed formation)
  • A wheel drop is being fitted to the wheel lathe to facilitate axle changes