Virgin trains ‘excellent news for Sunderland economy’

Penshaw Monument was lit up to mark the launch of Virgin's service.
Penshaw Monument was lit up to mark the launch of Virgin's service.
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Sunderland’s new direct rail link to London will be a major boost for business.

That’s the message from SAFC commercial director Gary Hutchinson, who also heads the Sunderland Business Group and chairs the North East Chamber of Commerce’s Sunderland committee.

Sunderland Football Club Commercial Director Gary Hutchinson.

Sunderland Football Club Commercial Director Gary Hutchinson.

Virgin Trains launched its new link between Sunderland and King’s Cross on Monday – and lit up Penshaw Monument in company colours to mark the occasion.

The service, which runs along the East Coast mainline, is the earliest train to leave Sunderland Station each week day, setting off at 5.40am, arriving in the capital at 9.08am, and departing for the return journey at 8pm.

Virgin Trains bosses say they invested in the service to meet business travellers and day trippers’ desire to be in the capital earlier in the morning .

Grand Central also operates services to London via the Hartlepool line, and Gary Hutchinson said it was a case of the more the merrier.

This is excellent news for Sunderland and our economy. Connectivity for any city is important and on behalf of Sunderland AFC, the North East Chamber of Commerce and Sunderland Business Group we support this new service, which will enhance the fantastic transport services already in operation across the city and region.

Gary Hutchinson

The new link would be a major boost for the city’s business community, he predicted.

“This is excellent news for Sunderland and our economy,” he said.

“Connectivity for any city is important and on behalf of Sunderland AFC, the North East Chamber of Commerce and Sunderland Business Group we support this new service, which will enhance the fantastic transport services already in operation across the city and region.”

Business, civic and community leaders joined the inaugural service, which was met at King’s Cross by Rail Minister Claire Perry.