Sunderland to host North East transport heritage festival in 2017

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Plans are in motion for a huge transport festival on Wearside which it's hoped will bring thousands of visitors to the area.

It has been announced that the North East Festival of Transport will be held in July 2017 on Sunderland's sea front.

Coun John Kelly at the launch of the festival.

Coun John Kelly at the launch of the festival.

Vintage buses, traction engines, commercial vehicles dating back decades and classic cars are all expected to be on display on Seaburn Recreation Field..

Coun John Kelly, Sunderland City Council's portfolio holder for culture, said: "The idea behind this is to create a festival of transport and bring a lot of interested groups together in Sunderland.

"As the council budget decreases, we find it easier to work with these groups to help and support them in putting events like this on.

"We're going to have some fantastic exhibitions on display for visitors."

North East Festival of Transport heritage event 2017 launch.

North East Festival of Transport heritage event 2017 launch.

Coun Kelly added that tourism chiefs hope the event will bring in a significant number of visitors from outside Wearside.

"We hope this will be a festival which will attract a lot of people from Scotland, Yorkshire and even Carlisle," he said.

"Hopefully it will provide a big boost to the city.

"We only use the sea front for about seven weeks of the year, for the Airshow and the Illuminations, and it needs to be used more.

A 1940s ambulance on display.

A 1940s ambulance on display.

"You will not get a better a view from here and we want events like this to raise the place's profile."

An invitation has been extended to any transport heritage groups who want to get involved in the event.

David Harrison, of the North Eastern Electrical Traction Trust which keeps a number of vehicles at the North East Aircraft Museum close to Sunderland's Nissan factory and is hosting a display this Sunday, said: "It's a fantastic idea to hold this event as there is a huge amount of interest in vehicles like this.

"It's not just people of a certain age because people young and old love to look at the old cars and buses.

"We've got to get kids involved as they are tomorrow's restorers.

"The field is a fair size so we'll be able to get a lot of different vehicles on here and hopefully a lot of visitors too."

The festival is expected to take place on the weekend of July 29 and 30, 2017.

More information is available at www.seeitdoitsunderland.co.uk/NETransportFestival.