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Restoration of Iconic Norfolk railway structure supported by Dura Composites wins top national award

A project in Norfolk to restore what is believed to be the last remaining railway sign of its kind on the national network has won a top award.

The Bittern Line Community Rail Partnership, train operator Greater Anglia and Dura Composites scooped the top prize in the small projects category at the National Railway Heritage Awards.

The now-restored running-in board has welcomed passengers arriving at the West Runton station for 100 years. It was manufactured by the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway (M&GNJR) at their engineering works in Melton Constable during 1921.

Despite extensive renovations in the early 1990s, the structure had fallen into disrepair in recent years as the timber lettering suffered from the adverse effects of the weather and proximity to the coast.

As experts in low maintenance timber alternatives, Dura Composites (who undertake numerous projects across the rail network) were perfectly placed to assist. Our in-house graphic communications expert researched the historic font and provided a modern day match which was then CNC machined by our in-house specialist from our Dura Daggerboard material. Two members of the Dura team then attended site to install and paint the letters and restore them to their former glory.

Peter Mayne, chair of the Bittern Line Community Rail Partnership and its parent organisation, Community Rail Norfolk, said: “I am absolutely delighted to see this project to restore a unique and historically significant rail asset recognised by this national award.

“The restored station sign looks superb and is a great example of Community Rail at its best: A project identified by the Bittern Line CRP, supported by the community and taken forward in partnership with Greater Anglia through the generosity of Dura Composites Ltd, who supplied and installed the replacement letters at no cost.”

Greater Anglia’s head of asset management, Richard Turner, said, “I would like to thank everyone involved in this fantastic community rail project which has seen West Runton’s station sign restored to its former glory, providing a much more attractive first impression as people arrive by train.”

Tom Bowman, commercial director at Dura Composites said: “As we approach the 100th anniversary of the original sign’s installation, Dura Composites is proud to have played our part in restoring and preserving this important piece of railway history. By identifying the closest modern-day typographic match to the original 1920s lettering and replacing the degraded timber with a hardwearing composite, our team has helped create a renewed running-in board that will withstand the effects of the coastal climate and continue to be a familiar landmark for future generations of rail users.”