A PIECE of Banbury's history was erased from the map this weekend with the dismantling of the Banbury North Signal Box.

Possession of the line at Banbury Railway Station was due to be taken at 35 minutes past midnight and demolition took place at about 4am once the site was secure.

Officers from Network Rail spent the rest of the day clearing and tidying the site in preparation for a normal commuter service on Monday morning.

It marks the closing chapter in a long saga to save the signal box that culminated in a highly successful heritage project, with thousands shown around the site.

Local campaigners struck a deal with Network Rail to run a series of tours and educational days at the signal box and salvage all of its equipment and materials.

Rob Kinchin-Smith, an active member of the campaign and former chair of Banbury Civic Society, said: "It was an undoubted huge success.

"More than 3,000 people came through the box, which resulted in the entire contents of the box being saved for heritage re-use."

Mr Kinchin-Smith and other members of the community gathered on the railway bridge on Sunday night to watch the demolition.

Ahead of the event he said he had 'absolutely no idea' how many people would be coming because it was 'not necessarily what people want to see'.

But he added: "We hope people will conserve their happy memories of having had the chance to see the inside."

Members of the campaign to preserve the box took to social media on Sunday to share their memories of the century-old space.

Posting on Facebook, Gareth Parry said: "I think it's very sad to see beautiful things and places being destroyed all in the name of progress. 

"I also enjoyed my visit to Banbury North in August - this was my second visit."