7 shots of Sunderland Station over the decades

The progress of the revamp at Sunderland Station - this was taken in January 1966.

The progress of the revamp at Sunderland Station - this was taken in January 1966.

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This year marks the 180th anniversary of the arrival of passenger train services to Sunderland – at a time when business was booming.

But, as these Echo photos reveal, Wearside’s rail links have undergone several revamps from that time on; including one courtesy of World War Two.

The tunnels at Sunderland Station are "sliced" in February 1966.

The tunnels at Sunderland Station are "sliced" in February 1966.

“The very first passenger services were provided by Durham and Sunderland Railway Company in 1836,” said photographic archivist Susan Swinney.

“Three stations, at Monkwearmouth, Fawcett Street and Hendon, did brisk business – until North Eastern Railway opted to bring all rail traffic together.”

Sunderland’s new Central Station opened on August 8, 1879, and, by the late 19th century, it was a hub of great importance, offering rail links country-wide.

Architect William Bell was given a “generous budget” to design the site and the result included spectacular tunnels and a French Gothic-style clock tower.

All change - Sunderland's old station.

All change - Sunderland's old station.

“The original plans apparently ‘disappointed’ Sunderland Town Council, prompting councillors to provide a much bigger budget,” said Susan.

“Services to South Shields, Durham and Newcastle were provided in the early years, as well as to West Hartlepool and Middlesbrough from 1905.

“But the constrictions of the site – with tracks running underground – meant that passenger facilities had to be constructed within a hall above the arches.”

Changes over the years included the addition of a second entrance, with a booking office, in 1883. The station was also damaged in an air raid in 1940.

Progress on the creation of a new-look Sunderland Station is shown here in October 1965.

Progress on the creation of a new-look Sunderland Station is shown here in October 1965.

British Railways then removed the train shed in 1953 and, in 1966, the surface buildings, including the clock tower, were bulldozed and a new entrance built.

“The station today looks nothing like it did when first opened,” Susan added.

An unusual view of demoliton work at the south end of Sunderland Railway Station in 1964.

An unusual view of demoliton work at the south end of Sunderland Railway Station in 1964.

Sunderland Railway Station, with the Town Hall clock just behind it, with wartime damage to the train dome clearly on show.

Sunderland Railway Station, with the Town Hall clock just behind it, with wartime damage to the train dome clearly on show.

Sunderland Railway Station in October 1938.

Sunderland Railway Station in October 1938.