Calls to save old engine shed which played a part in town's railway history
Campaigners are calling on a company to hold off the with the demolition crew as they fight to save a piece of railway past.
Trackwork has applied to Sunderland City Council to knock down the railway shed on Hetton Lyons Industrial Estate because it is in a state of disrepair.
But Hetton Colliery Railway 200 (HCR200), a charity set up to mark the 200th anniversary of the George Stephenson Railway next year, has objected, as has Hetton Town Council.
Charity trustee Stuart Porthouse has applied to Historic England seeking listed status for the shed, which was constructed in 1910 on the site of an 1800s building.
Launched in November 1822, it was the first complete railway in the world and transported coal to be shipped out of the River Wear.
It amalgamated with the Lambton Collieries to become Lambton and Hetton Collieries in 1911, when it was taken over by James Joicey, becoming Lambton, Hetton and Joicey Collieries in 1924.
Stuart, a former city councillor for the St Chad’s Ward and Mayor of Sunderland, said: “We want it preserved in some manner, and while it’s been allowed to deteriorate, the building itself is solid, it’s just the roof.
"After closure of Hetton Lyons Colliery in 1950, the railway and workshops were kept open to service the Elemore and Eppleton Collieries until closure of the railway in 1959.
"Clearance of the site commenced over the years until only the waggon repair shops are left.
"This is the only reminder of what was a huge industrial concern.
"In the planning application the company say they don't intend building on the site of the waggon shops in the near future.
"Therefore this gives Sunderland City Council the opportunity to help preserve a building of historical importance.
"For example the building could be gifted to Beamish Museum for dismantling and re-built on their site.”
The town council has told planners it objects “on the grounds that the structure represents an important aspect of the town's railway heritage and is a rare example of such a building.”
It calls for a halt to the process pending further information from the company, the opinion of the council’s heritage officer and options to preserve it.
More about HCR200 can be found via http://www.hcr200.org/.
Trackwork has not responded to a request for comment.