Despite the best efforts of railway enthusiasts, civic groups, political figures and local businesses the historic signal box north is set to be demolished.
The slightly better news, however, is that Network Rail, the owners of the box along with the ‘Project Crossover’ team have delayed the demolition until early October.
This 10-week stay of execution will be used to erect a safe passageway to the signal box to allow the public one last opportunity to see the workings of a Victorian signal box.
The pre-booked tours will demonstrate how signal boxes work, teach about railway safety and the dangers of railway trespass and outline Banbury’s former importance as a key railway junction.
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Additionally the box, due to its unique size and shape, means that it can be used for all types of events including corporate evenings for employees, community group meetings or as a birthday party venue for adults or children.
The confirmation of the demolition comes after the ‘Save Signal Box North’ group failed in a bid to secure £162,000 surety required to underwrite the project and assure Network Rail that the funds were in place to maintain and run the signal box if ownership was transferred. The group did, however, manage to raise over £17,500 in just three weeks from crowd-funding and donations from local businesses including Norbar Torque Tools, Peter Haines Engineers, Tapper Interiors, RP Lovatt Insurance and Belos Ecology.
Social media reaction to the failed bid and demolition plans has been one of sadness.
John Stansfield said: “Very mixed emotions. That was fantastic work by all concerned. Very sad that the box is going, but some consolation that I can look forward to a visit over the summer.”
Terence Williams commented: “To save the Banbury North signal box for 10 weeks so many can enjoy the experience. Young, and sounds like the older ones, will be able to view this historic building used for the safety of trains at this crossing point on the network. To the team that I met, to those that worked hard in the back ground, to the bobby who will work the last ever shift, credit to you all and thanks for you support. Now book a spot and enjoy the period given to add to your life journey, to give you so many memories to look back on.”
A grand opening and ribbon cutting to signify the start of the public tours is scheduled for August 13.
For those interested in booking a customised visit contact The Project Crossover Steering Group at [email protected] or visit https://banburynorth.youcanbook.me/
The signals boxes remaining days and events can also be followed via the groups Facebook page, www.facebook.com/groups/BanburyNorthSignalBox.