A fond farewell to a Banbury landmark

Banbury Signal Box north NNL-160202-143112001
Banbury Signal Box north NNL-160202-143112001

After more than a century of service, Banbury’s Signal Box North is no more.

During the early hours of Mothering Sunday, bulldozers methodically demolished Banbury’s last existing signal box that had stood rail-side since 1901.

Demolition begins on the hundred year old building (courtesy Nathan Bignell) NNL-170328-123331001

Demolition begins on the hundred year old building (courtesy Nathan Bignell) NNL-170328-123331001

The demolition marks the completion of the removal of both Banbury’s functioning signal boxes, after the southern box was demolished last summer.

Upgrades to the signalling system, in the form of a £76 million centralised hub located in Rugby, by Network Rail were the beginning of the end for the buildings.

A community group dedicated to the preservation of the Victorian box ultimately lost the war but won a significant battle in preserving the it for a three-month long farewell tour during which school children and the public could visit and tour the box.

Reaction to the demolition has been predictably morose. Steven Kerridge, who was involved in the fight to save it summed it up.

Demolition of signal box north in the early hours of Mothers Day. (Courtesy Rob Kinchin-Smith) NNL-170329-132927001

Demolition of signal box north in the early hours of Mothers Day. (Courtesy Rob Kinchin-Smith) NNL-170329-132927001

He said: “The box is now sadly gone but will for ever remain in the memory of those involved in running the visits throughout last summer and all those thousands of visitors who enjoyed that special glimpse into a lost world.”

Demolition of signal box north. (Courtesy Rob Kinchin-Smith) NNL-170329-133101001

Demolition of signal box north. (Courtesy Rob Kinchin-Smith) NNL-170329-133101001

After a few hours the box is almost gone. (Courtesy Rob Kinchin-Smith) NNL-170329-133245001

After a few hours the box is almost gone. (Courtesy Rob Kinchin-Smith) NNL-170329-133245001

Nothing but a piece of concrete marks the spot of the last standing signal box in Banbury (courtesy Andrew Newman) NNL-170328-124817001

Nothing but a piece of concrete marks the spot of the last standing signal box in Banbury (courtesy Andrew Newman) NNL-170328-124817001