New station entrance shows its steel

The steel frame depicting the outline of a stunning new entrance to Sunderland train station has become the latest addition to the city’s skyline.

Delivering a light, bright and airy welcome to Sunderland, the £26 million project is part of a wider £100 million plan to transform the transport hub.

The full entrance shell is expected to be completed by the end of March, once the roof and walling systems have been installed, marking the next major milestone in the redevelopment of the city’s main transport hub.

The glazed statement entrance, which will overlook Market Square, features a large glass wrap around design, and 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. 

In 2019/2020, around 1.5 million Metro trips were made from and to the station, with approximately 427,000 trips made using the national rail network, and numbers are expected to grow as the city centre becomes an economic hub and residents begin to embrace more sustainable modes of transport.

Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “Within the space of just a few days we have celebrated the topping out of Maker & Faber and the erection of the steel framework of our new station entrance, it’s such an exciting time for the city.

“While Maker & Faber will bring thousands of jobs to the city centre, the new, revamped train station will be providing a welcome worthy of a city that shows we truly mean business.

“Should we be successful in raising the funds for the next phase of its development, then we will also see more services added which will make the city an even better place to live, work and play.

“It really is one of the most exciting periods in Sunderland’s recent history and I couldn’t be any prouder of how the city’s skyline is evolving. Long may it continue.”

Driven by Sunderland City Council, in partnership with Network Rail, Nexus, Grand Central and Northern Rail, the Council is now drumming up support for an entire station makeover over the coming years, with a vision to revamp the northern entrance of the station, as well as platform-level works to increase the capacity of the station, with four tracks and four platforms to separate Nexus and Metro from mainline services. 

Martin Kearney, managing director at Nexus, added: “Sunderland’s Central Station is a key gateway to the city, so this project is such a significant part of the city-wide transformation programme. We are looking forward to seeing the new station taking shape and our new Metro trains calling there in the future.”

Leading construction company BAM Nuttall has been leading the development since demolition work concluded in October.

Paul Abraham, senior project manager for BAM, said: “The transformation of Sunderland Station is a landmark development for the city and we are really excited to be part of it. The completion of the steel frame marks a major milestone on the project, and passengers and the public can finally see the structure taking shape. 

“The steel frame sections were fabricated in Sunderland by a local fabricator, Harry Marsh Engineers, and made a short six minute journey to site. Our commitment to using local suppliers means that businesses in the North East are benefitting from the station’s redevelopment, as well as passengers and the public. We had 180 tonnes of steel to transport to site in nine deliveries, so sourcing the steel frame locally has also reduced the project’s carbon footprint.”

Completion of the southern entrance works is scheduled for the end of 2023. 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.

Luke Durston, principal programme sponsor for Network Rail, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Sunderland City Council and industry partners to deliver this landmark project and it’s hugely exciting to see the new concourse taking shape.

“The complete overhaul will bring huge benefits for passengers travelling to and from Sunderland, including better station facilities and a more welcoming environment.

“We look forward to progressing over the coming months to complete the construction and deliver these benefits for passengers and the city of Sunderland.” 

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