UK's oldest railway sign restored to former glory for 100th birthday

Dura Composites Fabrication Team members Jack Partridge (left) and Dave Parkin (right) working on the sign at West Runton.

Dura Composites Fabrication Team members Jack Partridge (left) and Dave Parkin (right) working on the sign at West Runton. - Credit: Greater Anglia

The UK's oldest railway sign, which has welcomed visitors to a coastal village for almost 100 years, has been restored to its former glory.

When the sign was installed at West Runton station on December 21, 1921, David Lloyd George was prime minister, George V was sat on the throne, and the country was bouncing back after the First World War.

Now the sign has been restored as it approaches its 100th birthday.

The sign was built locally at Melton Constable and is believed to have become the oldest of its kind when a station at Gedney in Lincolnshire closed in the 1950s.

The West Runton sign before restoration work.

The West Runton sign before restoration work. - Credit: Greater Anglia

During the Second World War the original letters on the sign were all removed to prevent any invasion forces determining their positions, and over the years, the letters have been replaced several times. However they were made with timber and weathered quickly.


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Now the sign has been given a new lease of life after Essex-based Dura Composites created and installed new letters free of charge.

The sign at West Runton following restoration work.

The sign at West Runton following restoration work. - Credit: Greater Anglia

Chris Hawkins, asset inspection quality controller at Greater Anglia, said: “We are very grateful to Dura for their help in restoring this running board and preserving this important piece of railway history.

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“Their in-house graphic designer has a degree in graphic communication and typography and was able to identify the closest modern day match to the original font so the letters could be replicated.

“We’re so pleased with the finished result and hope it will be appreciated by those who use the station and people living in the local area.”

In the early 1990s, the board underwent restoration by leading expert Nigel Digby using wooden lettering, however it is hoped the new letters will provide a more permanent solution to withstand the coastal climate.

Martin Halliday, development Officer for Community Rail Norfolk, added: “We were delighted to work with Greater Anglia and Dura Composites to restore this unique piece of railway infrastructure.

“The sign is a familiar landmark for many thousands of rail users and is undoubtedly one of the most iconic original station running in boards still to be seen on the UK rail network.

“We are hugely grateful to everyone involved in the project.”

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