Council bosses say plans for a £10m revamp of Sunderland Central Station are in their final stages after criticism of the time the project is taking.
Sunderland City Council, Nexus and Network Rail are in the final stages to create a new-look exterior design for the 49-year-old station and are looking for extra funding to finally make the project happen after plans were unveiled three years ago.
Virgin Trains East Coast is to introduce a new direct early-morning train from the city to London’s King’s Cross and Sunderland’s Conservative group leader Peter Wood expressed his disappointment that the plans have not come to fruition in time for the new service.
“The announcement of the new direct, early morning, Virgin Trains East Coast service to London from Sunderland starting in December is welcome,” Coun Wood said.
“An arrival in the capital around 9am will prove very useful for business. The late-evening return departure from King’s Cross will complement Grand Central services.
“What a pity, though, that Virgin will not be able to use a modernised central railway station.
“We have been promised, for some time, a new external design for the south end of the railway station more in keeping with our city status. Unfortunately those plans are delayed, running late because Network Rail has withdrawn some of its original funding allocation.
“I hope that, sooner rather than later, Network Rail, Nexus and the city council will be able to agree suitable designs and which will also allow much improved access to the station.”
The council’s portfolio holder for city services, Coun Michael Mordey, said: “The city council has recognised for some time the need for further improvements and a major redevelopment to Sunderland Central Station.
“The City Council, Nexus and Network Rail have already committed funding to the project
“We are currently finalising a detailed design solution with partners Network Rail and Nexus. In the meantime, we are working on options to secure some further funding to make the project happen, which will include improvements to the external space surrounding the station.”