Pauline Kerr got in touch with Network Rail earlier in the year to ask if the sign which measures the halfway point between Edinburgh and London could be restored. Network Rail rose to the challenge and carried out a detailed restoration of the iconic sign which sits just north of York station.
Ken Bainbridge (Pauline's Dad) made the sign which was installed in 1938 when he was working as an engineer's apprentice at just 17 years of age. The 50-foot sign took Ken a fortnight to build by hand using a chisel, saw and drill. The well-known sign has sat next to the East Coast Main Line for 84 years and was definitely in need of some TLC.
Teams at Network Rail have now completed the restoration of the sign which has seen a full refresh and repaint bringing it back to its original state once again. The sign will now see a regular maintenance regime carried for its upkeep into the future allowing passengers to enjoy the sign into the future.
Jason Hamilton, East Coast Route Programme Director for Network Rail, said: “This sign is iconic and loved by many passengers who travel up and down the East Coast Main Line, so we're really pleased that we've been able to get it looking as good as new.
“York has a rich railway history and it's fascinating to learn more about how Ken made the sign when he was just a teenager. We're really happy to have been able to complete this work, as we know what a difference it will make for Pauline and her family.
“The new maintenance routine will make sure it continues to welcome passengers to York for years to come.”
Ken Bainbridge retired in 1984 and told Railnews: “All I had to do the job with were chisels, a hacksaw and a file – there were no machines then. When I look at those signs north of York I feel they are mine.”