AN ICONIC sign by the side of the railway tracks in countryside near York - marking the half-way point between Edinburgh and London - has been restored at the request of a woman whose father made it almost 90 years ago.

The 50-foot sign stands next to the East Coast Main Line, just north of York railway station, and is a familiar sight to the thousands of rail passengers who travel each day between York and cities and towns to the north, such as Thirsk, Durham, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

But Pauline Kerr, whose father Ken Bainbridge, of Newton-on-Ouse, made it as a teenager in 1938, noticed earlier this year that the half-way sign was looking a little weathered.

She decided to contact Network Rail to ask if it could bring the historic sign back to its former glory after standing for 86 years by the side of the tracks on the 393-mile route between the English and Scottish capitals.

Teams from Network Rail then set about carrying out the painstaking restoration and cleaning project.

A spokesperson for the organisation said it had taken Ken two weeks to make the sign, crafting it by hand, using a chisel, saw and drill, when he was working as an engineer’s apprentice, aged just 17.

They said that when he had retired from the railways in 1984, Ken had 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.”

The spokesperson said: "Network Rail teams have now carried out work to refresh, repaint and restore the sign to its former glory once more.

"A new maintenance regime has also been put in place to make sure that the sign remains in good condition and can be enjoyed by rail passengers for future generations."

Jason Hamilton, who is East Coast Route Programme Director for Network Rail, said that the sign was '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.'

He said: “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.”