Plans have been released by Network Rail and Nexus for the transformation of Sunderland railway station.
The £26m project will deliver a number of improvements over the next six years.
Work on the first part of the project could begin within days and will start with the demolition of the current south entrance.
The new entrance will be a prominent landmark with a stunning façade overlooking Market Square.
The glass wrap around will help to create a bright welcoming concourse.
Improvements to accessibility will be made along with waiting areas, retail space, cafes, toilets and a new ticket office. There will also be office space for railway staff.
Work will also take place on the platform-level at the station. Plans include creating a four track four platform station.
£16m of the funding has been secured from the Transforming Cities Fund and the remaining will come from the council and others including Network Rail and Nexus.
There will also be a 400-space four-storey multi-storey car park at Holmeside to support the station
The project on the southern entrance should start in August and is due to open in 2023.
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “The stunning CGIs and animations that we’re unveiling today are not just a vision. They’re a delivery plan, and the product of many months of work to secure a transformational programme of investment in the station that is both ambitious and deliverable.
“We are absolutely focused on making this happen quickly, because we know it’s something residents want and something Sunderland deserves – a station to be proud of, reflecting the size, scale and significance of an ambitious Northern powerhouse.
“So much is happening in Sunderland right now – in recent months we’ve had the launch of Riverside Sunderland, a fantastic Nissan jobs announcement and continued infrastructure works enhancing our connectivity. This project represents another huge leap forward in our evolution.
“Sunderland is a city on the march. We’re ambitious, we’re focused and we’re delivering the transformation needed to ensure we become the dynamic, vibrant, healthy smart city we want to be. The station – as a key arrival point – has to be a core part of our plan for Sunderland, and it is.”
Jason Hamilton, route programme director for Network Rail, said: “We’re really pleased to be working with Sunderland Council on this project which will transform rail travel for people in the city.
“The work we’ll begin over this summer will make this a better station for passengers, with the introduction of a new escalator and easier access across the station. It will also improve passengers’ connections to other forms of transport from the station.
“We’ll work overnight where needed on many parts of this project, so that there’ll be no disruption to the train services people rely on now.”
The project has been well-supported by transport provider Nexus, which has part-funded the programme. Martin Kearney, Chief Operating Officer at Nexus, said: “We have worked alongside Sunderland City Council to make the case for investment and fund this £26 million project, which builds on the major refurbishment at platform level we delivered in 2010. It will create an iconic new landmark for Sunderland. The designs are fresh and modern, bringing this key regional gateway into the 21st century.
“Metro customers make almost 1.5 million journeys a year through Sunderland station, where our frequent services connect easily with Intercity and regional trains, as well as having the city centre on the doorstep. Our customers can look forward to travelling from a bright new station at the same time Metro’s new train fleet begins to enter use.”
Kerry Peters, Regional Director at Northern, said: “Northern is delighted to be working with our partners on this project and our customers will see big improvements at Sunderland station and it will offer much more to the community it serves.
“I am confident that the significant changes made at Sunderland will help to enhance the overall experience for passengers – whether that’s buying a ticket, waiting for a train or getting information about our services.
“The refurbishment is part of a larger programme of improvement work taking place across our network which includes installing more CCTV, resurfacing car parks and improving accessibility for all our customers.”
Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said “This is excellent news for the North East. Sunderland Station is a key part of the region’s Transforming Cities Fund Programme, and I’m sure the modern facilities will be warmly welcomed by passengers.
“The revitalised station will serve as a gateway into the retail core of the city centre and the wider Sunderland area and will greatly benefit business, commuters and visitors to Wearside.”
Cllr Graeme Miller added: “Enabling easy, sustainable travel into and out of Sunderland, connecting people to jobs and opportunities in a cleaner, greener way is critical if we want to level up the economy in the North East.
“We’re delighted to be moving forward with this much-needed project in partnership with colleagues who share our commitment to delivering an exemplar travel hub for the city and we look forward to sharing more exciting details of our plans for the north entrance, and the platform level of the station soon.”
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