Calls to introduce direct rail routes between Sunderland and the likes of Birmingham, Bristol, Exeter and Cornwall have been aired in Parliament.
At the moment, the city has links to Newcastle, York and London , courtesy of Grand Central and Virgin Trains, but no direct links to any other city.
I hope that as many Mackems as possible will respond to the Government’s consultation before it closes at the end of the month and will give their backing for new, direct rail services between Sunderland, the midlands and the South West.Coun Niall Hodson
Cross Country trains run services from Penzance in Cornwall to Aberdeen, via Bristol, Birmingham, Newcastle and Edinburgh, as well as Newcastle to Bournemouth services.
The Government is currently holding a public consultation about the future of the service, and asking for ideas about new routes in the future.
Now local Liberal Democrats have taken their campaign to Parliament, where party transport spokesperson and member of the House of Lords Baroness Jenny Randerson asked Transport Ministers if they had considered direct Cross Country services to and from Sunderland as part of the future franchise arrangements.
Transport Minister Baroness Sugg said the Government would consider all suggestions options put forward by the public.
Sunderland Liberal Democrats Leader and Millfield councillor Niall Hodson said: “It is clear that compared to other cities of our size, Sunderland doesn’t have enough direct inter-city rail services to other parts of the country. We always seem to be ignored by the Government and train companies and Liberal Democrats believe its about time this changed.
“It would be simple for some services that start and end in Newcastle to be extended one stop so that they can begin and finish in Sunderland, giving us extra direct rail links.
“Local MPs don’t seem to be interested in this issue, so we’ve taken our campaign to the House of Lords to get this issue on the Government’s agenda in Parliament.
“I hope that as many Mackems as possible will respond to the Government’s consultation before it closes at the end of the month and will give their backing for new, direct rail services between Sunderland, the midlands and the South West.”
To take part in the consultation on the new Cross Country trains franchise before the August 30 deadline, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/cross-country-rail-franchise