SUNDERLAND railway station’s new look is proving a real eye-catcher after picking up an award.
The £7million modernisation carried out by Nexus has won its second major design award.
The project was highly commended in the Design and Innovation Category at the 2011 North East Renaissance awards, held by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors in Newcastle.
The honour recognises the huge improvement in the environment at the station, used by about two million people every year, including the way installation of three major artworks.
Judges chairman David Furniss said: “Good art can inspire, transform and add value – and if you don’t believe me, then go and look at Sunderland station.”
The honour comes two months after Platform 5, the artwork that is the centrepiece of the new station, was named winner in the Special Projects category at the 2011 UK Lighting Design Awards.
The work consists of a moving screen of ghostly characters that appear behind the glass wall opposite passengers waiting for a train.
Rail user Rebecca Abbott, 36, uses the station every week.
She said: “It looks so much better than it used to. To be honest, I never liked using the station in the past, but it’s really been brought up to date.
“I like the incorporation of artwork. It shows some kind of effort is being made.”
Bernard Garner, director general of Nexus, which owns and manages the Tyne and Wear Metro, said: “Sunderland is attracting national recognition for the quality and innovation of the refurbished station.
“Customer satisfaction with the waiting facilities, security and information has also risen to record levels, according to independent surveys by Passenger Focus.”
Sunderland station is owned by Network Rail and managed by Northern Trains. Nexus invested in the station as the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive and owner of Metro.
Metro passengers make up three quarters of the two million people who pass through Sunderland station ever year. The station also provides direct Grand Central intercity services to York and London, and Northern regional trains to surrounding towns and cities.
Platform 5 is one of three permanent artworks at Sunderland.
Also at the station is “Found” a sequence of 41 poignant photos depicting real items of railway lost property, and “Outside” – giant images of railway infrastructure printed on to glass and lining platform buildings.