Sunderland to London train operator Grand Central opens new Wearside office

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SUNDERLAND’S rail link to London has a new stop.

Following the launch of its fifth daily service from Sunderland to the Capital, Grand Central Rail has expanded its North East operation with the opening of large new offices in Sunniside.

The Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland Coun. Stuart Porthouse and his wife Marie (2nd & 3d let), officially open the new Grand Central offices in West Sunniside, Sunderland on Friday. Also pictured are Leanne Marshall Customer Services Manager (left) and Sean English General Manager.

The Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland Coun. Stuart Porthouse and his wife Marie (2nd & 3d let), officially open the new Grand Central offices in West Sunniside, Sunderland on Friday. Also pictured are Leanne Marshall Customer Services Manager (left) and Sean English General Manager.

The new base replaces the company’s former site in Foyle Street and marks a major expansion of its presence in the city centre, with a training suite, management offices, meeting rooms, a mess room and kitchen and changing rooms for staff.

Leanne Maskell, customer service manager for Grand Central’s North Eastern service, said the new home was a major improvement on the previous site.

“The new office is a great step-up for our North East base and we’re very excited to be in more spacious and modern facilities,” she said.

“It is much, much better than the other one. There are much better facilities here and it is a far nicer environment for the crews to work in.

“We are looking forward to combining the excellent customer care we are known and admired for locally with a new stronger presence in the North East.”

Operations director Sean English said Sunderland had played a critical role in the company’s success,

“Being here in the city is absolutely essential for us,” he said. “We are fully committed to Sunderland. When we launched in 2007, it was obviously key that Sunderland was a our start and destination point and it its still key to us. We recruit locally and the enthusiasm we have found from our staff is absolutely fantastic.

“There is a real passion and a real belief.

“We feel very much a part of the city.”

Managing director Richard McClean underlined the company’s commitment to Wearside.

“Staying local and investing in Sunderland is really important to us,” he said. “The North East is a vital part of our route and we are committed to continuing to connect the region with the capital, providing a much-needed service for the communities we serve.

“We are continuing to grow as a business and, in addition to extending the service between the North East and London to five services each day, we have recruited seven new local staff.”