Outrage led to a U-Turn on the Closure of Sunderland Railway Station

From business and civic leaders to the public, the announcement of the closure of Sunderland Railway sparked outrage. Alongside this outrage, Northern had to make a U-Turn on this decision. 

Sunderland Councillor Graeme Miller and North East Joint Transport Committee chairman Martin Gannon issues a joint statement and said: “We welcome the news that, following pressure by ourselves and by Sunderland MPs, the level of closure of Sunderland Station over the Christmas period has been reduced. 

“However, the situation remains far from perfect and major damage has been done to the public’s perception of rail services in the city. This impact on passengers follows many months of sustained poor performance by Northern Rail in the North East, and it cannot go on. 

“This is another example of complete failure in the management of the network by a rai; operator that is simply not focused on delivering for Sunderland”. 

Originally, the station was meant to be closed between the 18 December and 24 December with only opening on the 20 December between 5.15 am and 2.45 pm. However, they made a U-turn and left it open between those periods of time with normal hours or closing early.

On the other hand, even with the u-turn, there are a lot of members of the public who are not happy and have spoken out. 

Someone tweeted: “Completely unacceptable that so many days are seeing disruption when most aren’t strike days, nor the day before or after a strike. This isn’t just industrial action, this is can’t be bothered. And Sunderland Station is closed for much of this time, for no good reason”. 

Another said: “I am howling at Sunderland Station just being closed for seemingly days. What a mess”

A member of the public called out Grand Central Rail directly and said: “I have an email from you saying that Sunderland Station is closed on Sunday due to the RMT Union Strike Action. We both know that Saturday is the last strike day and the real reason for the closure is construction work. Maybe you shouldn’t mislead your customers like this”. 

Kerry Peters, Regional Director for Northern said: “Despite industrial action impacting staff numbers, Sunderland Station will remain open for a majority of the Christmas period and up to New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, the station operated reduced hours. 

“Sunderland is Northern’s only underground station and legislation requires at least two people who are suitably trained in case of the need for evacuation. 

“On the days of reduced hours of closure, passengers needing to travel to Sunderland from Newcastle should use the Tyne and Wear Metro and alight a St Peters or Park Lane. Anyone travelling North on Durham Coast will need to go to Heworth and change for Tyne and Wear Services to/from St Peter’s or Park Lane”. 

You can view the quick reference travel guide from Northern Services over Christmas and the New Year here.