£16m funding deal signed off for Sunderland railway station transformation

A multi-million pound funding deal has been signed off to radically overhaul a dilapidated train station reminiscent of “really bad pictures of the 1970s”.

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 5:42 pm
Sunderland train station
Sunderland train station

An initial £16.3m investment to kickstart the project was agreed by North East transport bosses on Tuesday afternoon.

It is the second major scheme to be funded via the region’s £198m share of the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund, alongside the redevelopment of Durham bus station.

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Image shows a modern wrap around glass design for Sunderland's new train station

As the grant was agreed by the North East Joint Transport Committee (JTC), deputy Sunderland Council leader Claire Rowntree said that the revamped station “forms a key part of the vision for our city of Sunderland and will help future-proof the city to accommodate our plans for future development”.

Gateshead Council leader Martin Gannon, who chairs the JTC, added: “The pictures of the current station are like something out of the 1970s – and really bad pictures of the 1970s. We have demonstrated the need for major investment so we are delighted to approve this.”

However, Coun Gannon said he was disappointed that the cash injection was coming at a time when LNER is proposing a “major setback” by removing its daily service between Sunderland and London under a timetable change due to come into force next May.

Tobyn Hughes, managing director of Transport North East, said that the initial funding for the train station upgrade would be released in two parts – first for the rebuild of the station itself, then for the 400 space multi-storey car park at Holmeside.

The plans were also signed off by Sunderland Council’s cabinet earlier on Tuesday.

The first phase of the station’s redevelopment, which is due to start in August, will involve the closure and demolition of the existing “dilapidated and outdated” existing south entrance and concourse and the creation of a stunning landmark gateway in its place.

It will feature a glass wrap-around facade overlooking Market Square, a new ticket office and reception, public toilets, waiting space, shops, and cafe facilities.

Further stages of the huge renovation will then involve redevelopment of the city centre station’s northern entrance and concourse, followed by significant platform-level improvements to create a four-platform, four-track station that will increase capacity.

It is hoped that work on the southern entrance can be completed and the area reopened by March 2023, with the entire project scheduled to last six years.