Major works are set to go ahead from May 2nd as the Market Square and Waterloo Street entrances will be closing. This comes as a game-changing project that will create an attractive new entrance point to Sunderland is set to go ahead. This will act as the start of a new scheme, looking to drastically revamp the entire station.
It is important to note that the work being carried out by contractor BAM Nuttall will not impact access to retailers at Market Square, all of which remain open as normal. All parties involved in the work on the £26m project are keen to ensure as little impact towards the everyday running’s of the station as possible.
Patrick Melia, Chief Executive of Sunderland City Council, said: “This is the start of a transformational programme of work, which will give the city the station it deserves. While there will be disruption during construction, we know that – ultimately – the outcome will be well worth it, and we’re pleased it’s advancing.”
With the charge for this project being led by Sunderland City Council, they have brought together partners including Network Rail, Nexus, Grand Central and Northern, to tackle the first of a multi-phased revamp of the transport hub.
The improvements have been part-funded by the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund (TCF). The overall TCF package for Sunderland Station improvements and associated works is £16.3m.
The costs involved with this project will act as an investment into the future, with the plans hoping to eventually generate a greater income for the station. Platform-level works seek to increase the capacity of the station, with four tracks and four platforms to separate Nexus and Metro from mainline services, allowing both to expand as public transport connections regionally and nationally.
Through the expansion of the services available, as well as the aesthetic improvements, the people of the local area will have more accessibility and opportunity to utilise the rail services, whether it be for commuting or just for leisure travel. This will lead to an overall increase in the profits seen throughout the station.
Whilst the plans are going to help generate new profits for the station and rail industry, they will also contribute towards the process of creating new employment opportunities. The plans will include a new ticket office and reception, public toilets, retail space and cafes, comfortable waiting areas, as well as a new mezzanine level that will have office space reserved for rail industry staff.
Whilst the works on the southern side of the station are underway, people are encouraged to use the northern entrance on Union Street to access Sunderland’s central train station. Once the southern concourse plans have been implemented, there are also hopes for the second stage of the station’s transformation to deliver a reimagined northern entrance, with attractive public realm to create a statement building and gateway entrance to the Central Business District on High Street West.
The completion dates for the southern entrance works are currently being estimated for 2024.