SCC's Cllr Graeme Miller, Nissar Mohammed and Paul Abraham from BAM; Network Rail's Jonathan Calvert; Julie Elliot MP and Patrick Melia of SCC met to tour the new facilities. Credit: via Creo.

Southern entrance open at Sunderland station

The transformation of the city’s new arrival point, a £26m project led by BAM, features a heavily-glazed fascia looking onto Market Square.

Finishing touches will be applied to the public realm surrounding the station over the next few months, said Sunderland City Council.

BAM Construction teamed up with civils division BAM Nuttall to win the contract, provided through Network Rail’s framework in November 2021. The build took 18 months from the start on site.

The southern entrance of the station features a large glass wraparound design and includes a new ticket office and reception, public toilets, retail space and cafes, waiting areas, as well as a new mezzanine level that has office space reserved for rail industry staff.

The project was driven by Sunderland City Council, in partnership with Network Rail, Nexus, Grand Central and Northern Rail.

Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “Well, it is stunning. What a contrast this is to entrance that stood here before. This is a significant demonstration of the ambition we have, to transform this city into a place we can all be proud of. I am delighted to see this complete.”

The southern entrance is part of a wider investment programme to transform the transport hub. The council is campaigning for support for the next phases to create a massively transformed city station over the coming years, with a vision to revamp the northern entrance, as well as platform-level works to increase capacity, with four tracks and four platforms to separate Nexus and Metro from mainline services.

In 2019/2020, around 1.5m Metro trips were made from and to the station, with a further 427,000 trips made using the national rail network. The local authority hopes for those numbers to grow as it looks to drive investment through projects spearheaded by Riverside Sunderland.

Interim managing director of Metro operator Nexus, Cathy Massarella, said: “The new southern entrance at Sunderland station looks fantastic and it’s transformative for what is a major gateway into the centre of the city and the wider region. It’s a significant part of what is a city-wide regeneration programme.

“This multi-million-pound project will provide Sunderland with a world class railway station, offering customers modern, new, brighter, cleaner, and more welcoming facilities. We are looking forward to seeing our amazing new Metro trains stopping at the new-look station in 2024.”

The improvements have been part-funded by the government’s Transforming Cities Fund. The overall TCF package for Sunderland station improvements and associated works is £16.3m.

Cllr Martin Gannon, chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “The scheme is a transformative gateway to the city and will provide a modern, comfortable and appealing facility for local people and businesses to connect with our rail network. My congratulations go to Sunderland City Council on this ambitious project – this is very exciting news.”

Construction started in May 2022 with contractor BAM delivering the project on time.

Nissar Mohammed, rail director at BAM, said: “We’re so pleased to see the new entrance to Sunderland Station open to the public. It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work from our construction team, Sunderland City Council, Network Rail, and our subcontractor partners. The new entrance looks fantastic and will provide an enhanced travel experience for passengers, as well as a bright and modern welcome to Sunderland.”

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