Memories of Sunderland: The Old Park Lane

Just before the turn of the new millennium, Sunderland’s brand new Park Lane interchange was opened, offering bus and metro connections to the rest of the North East.

It has hard to believe that next year, this station will be 25 years old. Where has the time gone?

But before the “New” Park Lane, there was the Old Park Lane, a smaller and much simpler bus station that was demolished to make way for the new development. This station was opened in the 1930s.

Just like the current bus station does, the station’s function was to facilitate buses going to and from the “outside” of Sunderland, that is to Newcastle, Gateshead, South Shields, County Durham and Middlesbrough

It is because of this that the station was built in a strategic location between Durham Road and Stockton Road.

In contrast, for buses going in and around Sunderland, you had to go the now defunct Bridges Bus station, or “Sunderland Central Bus Station” which was demolished at the time the new Park Lane was built.

The Old Park Lane bus station, unlike the current one, was completely open and offered no protection from the elements. This often made it cold, wet and windy. Likewise, it had no shops or facilities.

Despite this, some Sunderland residents continue to have nostalgia for the old Park Lane, because it reminded them of “better times”.