A FORMER college student’s career is going full steam ahead after landing a promotion at a new factory that will build the next generations of trains.

Ex-Darlington College student Mark Kilcran is now a planner at Shepherd, which is working on a £31.5m contract to construct Hitachi Rail Europe’s new vehicle manufacturing facility at Merchant Park, Newton Aycliffe.

The 24-year-old, of Darlington, attended Longfield School before studying a national certificate in construction and an HNC in building studies at Darlington College, ahead of securing a first class honours degree in construction management at Northumbria University.

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He is now part of a team tasked with planning the construction of the 43,000 sqm Hitachi Rail Vehicle Manufacturing Facility on a 32 acre site next to the Darlington to Bishop Auckland railway.

Once finished the factory will be one of the country’s largest train manufacturing facilities and will employ more than 700 people.

He said: “My primary role on site is the planning and sequencing of construction operations. I then need to communicate this plan to the rest of the team to ensure we can deliver projects to our clients on time.

“Part of this process is the creation, monitoring and updating of construction programmes. In other words these are project to-do lists often containing more than 1,000 items.”

Mr Kilcran joined Shepherd seven years ago based at its Darlington office. Since then he has worked on a variety of high profile projects including the Richmond School redevelopment, testing facilities at the National Renewable Energy Centre at Blyth, the North-East Fire and Rescue Authority fire station building programme and most recently a major biomass project at Drax Power Station.