Rare piece of railway history returns to Lowestoft home

Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership (CRP) has worked to restore a giant original piece of railway heritage in its home of Lowestoft Station after being discovered recently at auction.

Known in the industry as a ‘Running in Board’, original blue and white signs are highly sought after. The double-sided enamel British Railways platform sign reading ‘Lowestoft Central’ and dating from the late 1940s/early 1950s was one of a pair and would have welcomed many thousands of people to the town before it was removed as part of a modernisation scheme in the early 1990s.

Thirty years on, it was discovered as part of a sale at Lowestoft Auction Rooms and purchased by local railway manager and industry sign collector James Steward. James has now loaned the sign to the Lowestoft Central Project and Wherry Lines CRP, with it being proudly placed on public display in a window of the station’s restored Parcels Office Exhibition Space – one of the many station spaces Community Rail Norfolk has worked to repurpose and bring back into community use.

Martin Halliday, Community Rail Officer for the Wherry Lines CRP, said: “We are delighted to have worked with James to enable this historic item from Lowestoft Station to return home.

“The sign is enormous and being double sided, we have been able to install it in one of the Parcel Office windows, allowing the public to see it from both inside and out.”

Jacqui Dale, Director of the Lowestoft Central Project, said: “Lowestoft Station already boasts the largest original enamel sign in the country, still proudly displayed in its original location on the front of the building. Whilst we are working to retain this iconic landmark, it is a terrific boost to see another key part of the town’s considerable railway history back where it belongs.”

James Steward said: “I am pleased to have secured this authentic station sign for the town. Often rare signage such as this goes abroad or into private collections, which is why I’m so glad that through the work of the Lowestoft Central Project and Wherry Lines CRP, the sign will be viewed once again in its original home at Lowestoft Station.”

Keep up to date with future news, projects, and events from Wherry Lines CRP via their website.