Sunderland rail deal will be just the ticket for passengers

Niall Hodson outside Sunderland Station.
Niall Hodson outside Sunderland Station.
0
Have your say

Transport bosses have been urged to allow commuters to use Metro passes and travelcards on Sunderland’s new rail link with Tyneside.

Virgin Trains will start running services between Sunderland and London, via Newcastle, in December.

It’s only fair people who have tickets that are already valid between Sunderland and Newcastle railway stations, either for journeys on the Metro or on Northern Rail trains, should also be able to use their passes on the new Virgin Trains services.

Niall Hodson

But unlike Northern Rail trains between the two cities, Tyne and Wear public transport operator Nexus says there is no agreement to let travel cards be used on the new service.

Now Sunderland’s Liberal Democrats are calling for a deal.

Niall Hodson, the party’s council candidate for Millfield and Thornholme, said: “It’s only fair people who have tickets that are already valid between Sunderland and Newcastle railway stations, either for journeys on the Metro or on Northern Rail trains, should also be able to use their passes on the new Virgin Trains services,” he said.

“It’s particularly important for those who need to travel from Sunderland to Newcastle early in the morning, because the new Virgin service will leave Sunderland at 5.40am, arriving at Newcastle at 5.56am – 27 minutes earlier than the first Metro.

“Wearside Liberal Democrats are urging Nexus and Virgin to come to an agreement so that passengers will be able to use tickets interchangeably on all services between Newcastle and Sunderland.”

A Nexus spokesman said talks on a deal were under way: “We are in discussions with Virgin Trains East Coast to see if Metro tickets can be accepted on their new services between Newcastle and Sunderland which start in December.

“We will make an announcement on this as and when something is agreed.”