Grand Central's Chris Brandon was shown the office by Cllr Kevin Johnston's team at Sunderland CC. Credit: via Creo

Timely arrival at Athenaeum Building for Grand Central

The train operator has signed a lease on the historic 5,500 sq ft building, its move to Fawcett Street being triggered by the redevelopment of Sunderland station.

The building will serve as Grand Central’s new North East management office and depot.

Overseeing the organisation’s North East service group, it will act as a base for around 60 members of train crew and company management.

Chris Brandon, head of business development at Grand Central, said: “Given we are the main operator of direct services between Sunderland and London, we needed to stay in close proximity of the station, so it was absolutely perfect.

“We also wanted somewhere that our staff could call their own and would give us the space to grow as we continue investing in the region and improving our services, so it just ticked all of the boxes.”

Grand Central operates six (five on Sundays) return trains direct between Sunderland and London every day. The new Sunderland office will act as a base for the crew working on the route as well as housing its train driver simulator and providing space for management to work.

“It’ll provide space for around 10-15 office staff at any given time, with around 60 crew members also using it to sign on, receive briefings and meet up,” Brandon added.

“It will also be somewhere that our management teams can work from when they are visiting our sites across the region, so it will be great for them to be right at the heart of all of the exciting developments going on across the city centre, especially the transformation of the station.”

Grand Central’s previous North East head office was located within the station, but the £26m redevelopment of the site has led it to seek a move.

After liaising with the business investment team at Sunderland City Council, the firm was shown The Athenaeum Building.

Cllr Kevin Johnston, dynamic city cabinet member at Sunderland City Council, said: “The ongoing redevelopment of Sunderland city centre is one of the UK’s most ambitious urban regeneration projects and so it’s fantastic to see Grand Central joining the many large employers who are seeing the potential of this rapidly changing city and choosing to invest here.”

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