Tickets deal urgently needed for new Wearside rail link - Nexus must act, say Lib Dems
A new direct rail link from Sunderland to London, via Newcastle, must allow passengers to use Metro tickets and travelcards say campaigners.
Virgin Trains East Coast will begin running new direct rail services between Sunderland and London King’s Cross this coming Monday (14th December).
The new Virgin Trains service will depart Sunderland at 05:40 and will call at Newcastle, Durham, Darlington, York, Peterborough and London King’s Cross. A return service leaves London King’s Cross at 20:00, arriving into Sunderland at 23:22.
Campaigners say that people with existing Metro and Northern Rail tickets should be able to use them on the new Virgin Trains route between Newcastle and Sunderland.
An agreement between Tyne and Wear transport authority Nexus and Northern Rail means that people with a monthly or yearly Metro pass can use it on Northern Rail trains between Sunderland and Newcastle, as well as on the Metro.
But although the new Virgin Trains service will be running between Sunderland and Newcastle, tickets won’t be able to be used in the same way.
When contacted recently by Wearside Liberal Democrats, Virgin Trains said they are “currently in discussions” about the extending this deal to their new services, whilst Nexus said they are “currently in discussions with Virgin Trains regarding the acceptance of tickets on their services between these two points. At the present time, no concrete decision has reached.”
Commenting, Wearside Liberal Democrats spokesman Niall Hodson said:
“It is a shame that as this new Virgin Trains service starts, no agreement has been reached for people to use passes and travelcards between Sunderland and Newcastle.
“A lot of people on Wearside are interested in using the new 05:40 Virgin Trains departure as it arrives at Newcastle at 05:56, some 27 minutes earlier than the first Metro of the day. It seems unreasonable that holders of passes and season tickets for this route should need to buy a separate ticket just to use the new service.
“Nexus need to make sure that tickets and passes between the two cities can be used on any service, whether that be Northern Rail, Virgin Trains or the Metro.”
Notes to editors:
Whilst season tickets and travelcards won’t be able to be used on Virgin Trains between Newcastle and Sunderland, the price of single and return tickets between Sunderland Central and Newcastle railway stations will be the same on both Northern Rail and Virgin Trains at £3.20 and £3.40 respectively.