The North East Party is set to make two policy announcements of major significance for the Sunderland area, after earlier having thrown its weight behind the Pallion Shipyard campaign and bringing back Maritime industries onto the Wear. These proposals, however, do not relate to this.
Firstly, the NEP has decided to support the campaign to reopen the former Leamside Line railway, of which previously extended from Sunderland City Centre via the Metro Route to South Hylton, then onwards to Cox Green, Penshaw and southwards to the City of Durham, as well as connecting upwards through Washington and crossing the Wear at Victoria Viaduct, eventually connecting to Pelaw.
Secondly, the NEP proposes that the Tram System be restored to Sunderland. This comes after the North East at large missed out on government funding for transport infrastructure. The tram system would be idealized to follow a model such as that of Manchester’s, and would adopt the same routes as the former system which ended in 1948. This is a proposal which is designed to improve the city’s transport infrastructure, novelty and appeal, whilst also reflecting upon its heritage.
Whilst it is unclear how these systems would be yet funded, it is nonetheless important that a political party is producing a concrete vision for upgrading the city and area’s transport infrastructure. Local MPs such as Julie Elliott and Bridget Phillipson have also called for the Leamside Line to be reopened, but these calls have been ignored by both the government and the labour frontbench.