City train station demolished

SUNDERLAND’S much-maligned train station has vanished from the city skyline, as work is set to start on construction of a stunning new city welcome point. 

The southern entrance of Sunderland’s station is gone, with demolition work now complete, after getting started in the summer. The old building has been completely dismantled as part of a committed £26m revamp of the station, itself part of a bigger £100m plan to transform the whole transport hub. 

Driven by Sunderland City Council, in partnership with Network Rail, Nexus, Grand Central and Northern Rail, contractor BAM Nuttall will now begin work on a stunning glazed structure, delivering a light, bright and airy welcome to Sunderland. 

Travellers by rail and Metro are currently being diverted to the north entrance, which will also be revamped following the completion of the first programme of work. 

The council is drumming up support for its full station makeover over the coming years, with a vision to revamp the northern entrance of the station, as well as platform-level works to increase the capacity of the station, with four tracks and four platforms to separate Nexus and Metro from mainline services. 

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “The old station was an eyesore and we’re really pleased to see the back of it as work advances on the transformation of this key point of arrival.

“The city centre is changing by the day – new buildings are rising into the sky, tired old buildings are disappearing and we’re starting to see a really exciting ‘heart’ for Sunderland emerge.  It’s a brilliant time for the city right now.”

Work will now begin on the construction of a new statement building, which will overlook Market Square. The new entrance features a large glass wrap around design, and will include a new ticket office and reception, public toilets, retail space and cafes, comfortable waiting areas, as well as a new mezzanine level that will have office space reserved for rail industry staff. 

The improvements have been part-funded by the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund (TCF). The overall TCF package for Sunderland Station improvements and associated works is £16.3m.

Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair, North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “Through the Transforming Cities Fund programme, the region is delivering real improvements for public transport users. It’s great to see this project moving forward in Sunderland.”

Plans are taking shape for the second stage of the station’s transformation to deliver a reimagined northern entrance, with attractive public realm to create a statement building and gateway entrance to the Central Business District on High Street West.  Major works to the platform-level of the station are included in the future third stage plans, with the ambition to increase connectivity and grow public transport by creating a four track, four platform station that separates Nexus and Metro, on one platform, from mainline services allowing both to expand as public transport connections regionally and nationally, and enabling them to provide access to jobs, to secure investment and to grow the economy.

Matt Rice, route director for Network Rail said: “This is an important step in our journey towards delivering a stunning new station for Sunderland.”

Chief operating officer at Nexus, Martin Kearney, added: “Sunderland’s Central Station is a key gateway to the city, so this project is such a significant part of the city-wide transformation programme. We are looking forward to seeing the new station taking shape and our new Metro trains calling there in the future.”

Sean English, chief operating officer for Grand Central, added: “We’re looking forward to the continued development of Sunderland station, which will create a fantastic environment for our customers and will encourage even more rail travel to the city.” 

Completion of the southern entrance works is scheduled for the end of 2023. In 2019/2020 c1.5 million Metro trips were made from and to the station, with a further c427,000 trips made using the national rail network. Numbers are expected to grow as the city centre becomes an economic hub and the city will require supporting infrastructure to encourage sustainable travel.

For more information on business and investment in Sunderland, visit: https://www.mysunderland.co.uk/business-and-investment or follow @InvestSundUK

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