The Friends of Handforth Station were delighted at the start of the New Year, their 20th anniversary, to receive news that two of their unique collections of Railway Signs were designated by the Board of Trustees of the Science Museum Group. This Group is charged under the 1996 Railway Heritage Act to identify artefacts and records of significance for preservation by recommendation for designation. The designated signs are the Regional Railways Sign on the Manchester-bound Platform and the British Railways enamel sign on the Crewe-bound platform. In addition to these, there is also a collection of over 20 modern European Railways “Handforth” signs. The designation requires Network Rail and the Train Operating Company to retain the signs and prevents them from removing the designated item without agreement form the Science Museum, through the Designation Advisory Board. This will help ensure the continuing exhibition of these and the other 20 additional unique European Railways “Handforth” signs.
Lord Faulkner of Worcester, Chairman of SMG said “We are delighted to be able to support the Designation of these two signs so ably cared for by the Friends of Handforth Station group. This unique collection, as far as we are aware is not represented anywhere else and the enthusiastic work of this group have returned the station to one of the best in the Cheshire area. We commend their commitment to the cause of safeguarding and protecting Britain’s railway heritage.”
Andy Savage, Executive Director, Railway Heritage Trust who recognised the significance of these signs explained
‘These two signs represent the first and last eras of branding of the nationalised rail industry. The maroon sign is a classic example of the BR ‘Gill-Sans’ style used from 1948 to 1964, with different coloured branding for each geographical region, whilst the Regional Railways sign shows how, right at the end of its existence, BR moved from a geographical to a business and customer led railway, with separate, distinctive brands for each business. The Regional Railways brand was particularly worth keeping an example of, as that team finally got local railways working again, after the massive drops of traffic before, during and long after the Beeching era.’
Mike Bishop, Chair of FoHS concluded “In addition to the recognition of our Heritage signs, our unique collection of over 20 modern European Railways “Handforth” signs will hopefully be similarly recognised in the future”.