Eight students from Hillside Specialist School and College, near Preston, were shown around the station, visiting the Assisted Travel Lounge, station control room and the Manchester Piccadilly signal box.
Hillside is based in Longridge, Lancashire, and specialises in communication and interaction for autistic pupils aged between three and nineteen years old.
Their next railway trip will be a learning day with Network Rail's maintenance team in Preston.
Manchester Piccadilly's Assisted Travel Lounge is a quiet, welcoming waiting area for passengers with additional mobility and sensory needs that has a dedicated team on hand to help.
As autistic people often have unusually intense sensitivity to sensory input, such as noise, this facility can make travelling more comfortable for autistic passengers.
The students observed the operation of the station control room, which makes important public information announcements, and which monitors the safety of one hundred thousand passengers a day.
At Manchester Piccadilly signal box, the students used Network Rail's training simulator to learn how to safely control the movement of trains.
Autistic people typically have intense special interests, and for those interested in railways, working in the industry is a popular career choice.
Anthony Scott, shift station manager at Manchester Piccadilly, said: “It was privilege to welcome Hillside School to Manchester Piccadilly station to learn how the railway works.
“It was clear the pupils from Hillside School have a passion for the railway, with one of them so knowledgeable our signallers tried to sign him up for the nightshift!
“We want everyone to not only feel welcome travelling on the railway, but to also consider the diverse roles on offer by visiting our www.networkrail.co.uk/careers page.”
Emma Pettitt, assistant head at Hillside Specialist School and College, said: “A few of our pupils have taken an interest in working in the rail industry. This was the perfect opportunity for the pupils to get an insight into some different career options.
“We all had a fantastic time, and the staff were friendly and accommodating throughout.”