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City Conservatives call for Washington Metro expansion

Councillors want a Metro service to Washington
Councillors want a Metro service to Washington

Sunderland’s Conservative party have called for Metro services to be extended to Washington to help boost business in the area.

The call follows system operator Nexus starting a £362m project to upgrade its 90 trains and replace them with a fleet of 42 larger capacity models by 2021.

Coun Peter Wood

Coun Peter Wood

In recent weeks, Nexus bosses have also hinted that expanding the line is a potential option in the future once the new trains roll out.

Now, Sunderland City Council’s Conservative group say they would support service extensions in Sunderland where a “good business case can be made.”

Transport spokesman for the group, Coun Peter Wood, said: “Top of our list would be Washington, which must be one of the biggest townships in the country without a functioning rail link.  

“The vibrant town centre, its business and industry and the dormant Leamside rail line all support the principle of extending links to Washington.

“A link to South Hylton might allow a circular service to Heworth, linking with the rest of the Metro system.”

The party also suggested potential extensions to Seaham, via Ryhope, along the Durham coast and services to Penshaw, Doxford Park and Houghton.

“Hopefully, the order of new trains to replace the existing Metro cars can take into account the possibility of acquiring more units for new Metro services within both Tyne and Wear and our city,” he added.

A Nexus spokesman, responding, said leaders are looking a range of future route extensions across the Tyne and Wear system subject to funding.

“Any extension would require significant government or other external funding based on a robust business case demonstrating the benefits to the economy that would be achieved in return for the hundreds of millions of investment needed,” he said.

“We regularly review the likelihood of winning funding for this and other routes so we can make the case for investment, and we are doing that again at the moment, with the help of leading transport economists.”

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service