A city railway station could be given a £26m facelift as part of a four-year regeneration plan.
A revamp of the station has been described as "vital"
Sunderland's train station - recently described as "austere" by a passenger watchdog group - could be smartened up.
Sunderland Council has admitted the station is probably the worst example of a main city station in the country.
They are hoping to bring Network Rail, who own the station, together with train operators Arriva and Nexus to discuss a plan for redevelopment.
Sunderland city council's cabinet member for transport, Councillor Ian Galbraith, said a lot would be improved.
"The state of the station is desperate and I think we have been aware of that for years.
"Hopefully we are recognising local people's views in trying to push something forward."
Mr Galbraith said the council was trying to bring various parties together to get a commitment for doing something.
He said the council would also send a delegation to the Strategic Rail Authority to argue the case for development is "vital" and should be funded.
Mr Galbraith added: "We are talking about a revamp of all the underground facilities, in effect the station, and above ground a mixed use commercial development.
"The whole environment around Sunderland Central Station would be affected."
If the plans do get the go-ahead, it would take around four years to complete the project, added Mr Galbraith.