Arriva Rail North (ARN), operator and parent company of Northern, has begun work to refurbish 268 trains under a £100m modernisation programme.
It will carry out the programme in eight train maintenance depots in the UK. This will create 105 new jobs, including roles for electricians, bodywork engineers, computer programmers and commercial painters.
The work to refurbish each train requires specialists from around 20 different areas.
The refurbished trains will feature better seating, at-seat power, fully accessible toilets with baby changing facilities and free Wi-Fi.
Passengers will also benefit from customer information screens, sustainable lighting and CCTV.
ARN will equip the trains with new flooring and repaint the exteriors. It will also fully overhaul the on-board systems and engines for improved reliability.
It has contracted the Leeds-based company Chrysalis Rail to aid in the upgrade programme.
Chrysalis Rail project manager Rachel Hawksworth said: “We currently have 32 people working on the Northern refurbishment programme. On-site we have vehicle builders, paint sprayers, electricians, stores and logistics personnel, and a project manager.
“The project has allowed us to maintain our site in Leeds and provides vital stability and longevity for our business in the north. Due to the contract, we have been able to invest in colleague training and apprenticeships which means we are up-skilling our employees.
“Chrysalis originated in the north and is operating in Leeds today due to this project. So we are delighted to be supporting Northern and helping to improve services for passengers.”
Last month, UK Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps announced that the government will operate the Northern rail franchise from 1 March.