Tuesday 21 October 2014

1 : Bolster the Business ...

... or the Business of Bolster?
Let's go to St Agnes.
It is  pretty little village on the north coast of Cornwall south west from Newquay. So who was St Agnes?
Not the above, for sure. But he (or it) is the Bolster Giant which, so ancient legend relates, plagued the village with nastiness including eating naughty children. Despite repeated efforts by village VIPs to defeat the baddy, he/it continued its dastardly deeds of terror. Until the saintly Alice proposed love to the monster. All is revealed in this YouTube video ...
Each year, St Agnes' children take part in a re-enactment. There is no record on-line of how many little ones are scarred for life by the experience!

Until February 1963, the area was served by the Truro and Newquay branch railway; wiggling its way slowly and (presumably) unprofitably between the two towns.
It could hardly be any less direct! Of interest to this blog are the stations at St Agnes itself ...
... which, of course, is some considerable distance from the village at Hurlingbarrow.
But the station building still exists in industrial use but with its large canopy area now filled in.

Of diminutive Goonbell Halt, however ...

... there is no trace. The usual line of vegetation when viewed from the air confirms that the line once ran there.
the station was by the road junction, bottom left.

fbb's 1971 Western national bus timetable book reveals an all-year service 549 via St Agnes and Goonbell from Redruth to Perranporth and Newquay ...
... but operated (almoost exclusively) in two sections Redruth to Perranporth and Perranporth to Newquay. There was also a Summer only 547 limited stop between St Ives and Newquay.

By the start of the new millennium, St Agnes was the in the purview of Truronian's T1 service running between Perranporth (some journeys), Truro and The Lizard.

But, as we can see, in present times St Agnes finds its way into the story of difficulties facing Western Greyhound [WG]. It is currently served by WG route 587 ...
... which mæanders its way, much like the old railway line, through from Truro via the coastal villages to Newquay.

Until October 2013, however, First Bus ran to St Agnes. But no longer. We explore more tomorrow.

Before we move on, however, fbb must draw your attention to a row on miners cottages ...
... cascading down a hillside towards Quay Road. The track (bottom right) is the only access and this path goes by the delightful name of ...
... Stippy Stappy. Bolster the giant and staggering down Stippy Stappy; is there no end to the esoterica entwined within an interest in public transport?

The relaunch of First Portsmouth's routes to Wecock Farm and Waterlooville as "Star" is one year old today. fbb hopes to provide pictures of the event (he was not invited - boo) and the cake as soon as these are received from the Star staff.
 Next bus blog : Wednesday 22nd October 


  1. Goonbell halt: although the station area shown in your picture has been filled in right back up to road level, the bridge parapet on the station side of the road, and the metal gate to the left of that (right hand side of the parapet in the picture) are still extant more than 50 years after closure. Interestingly at mithian all trace of the halt there has gone save for a slight bump in the road which is noticeable at the location where the bridge was, and highly likely still is under the Tarmac!

  2. Pre-Truronian, the main bus service between Truro and St Agnes was provided for many years by an operator based in the village. It was certainly more frequent than the WNOC offering and ran in a circuit around St Agnes and its associated mining hamlets. I have failed to find the operator's name - was it Williams?

    1. On the Ian Allan Bus map of Cornwall c 1965? it is shown as Reliance Bus Service, Harper & Kellow, Prospect House, St. Agnes. It suggests that the main service to Redruth (and its variations) ran at least every two hours, with two other shopping services on Fridays to Redruth.

      This map shows a lot of such services provided by 'other' operators in Cornwall at that time.

      A 1985 Cornwall CC timetable shows the main service as being provided by C R Williams (Coaches) of Trelyn, Goonbell, St, Agnes.They are also shown as operating a service from Trevallas to Truro via Mithian on Wednesdays.