Photo © Alan R Hall. Please do not re-post without permission.
VRL918, a Bedford SBO with Duple Midland 40 seat body was the last new bus purchased by Pearce's and became a familiar sight on the route between Polperro and Looe. It was bought in March 1956 and continued in service until the sale of the business in March 1974 by which time it was the oldest bus in the fleet.
It was sold to Deeble's and later still saw service with North Cornwall Cars of Launceston. It is seen here outside Looe Station awaiting its next load for Polperro. This photograph hardly does the location justice but there can be few prettier spots for a railway terminus anywhere in England.
In May 1901 a rail connection between Liskeard and Coombe Junction was opened, giving a through railway service between Liskeard and Looe, albeit with a reversal at Coombe Junction; prior to this, passengers wanting to travel to Looe had had to make their own way between Liskeard and Coombe Junction in order to join the train from Moorswater to Looe. In Polperro, the Pearce family – hitherto shopkeepers - spotted an opportunity and introduced a horse-drawn carriage to connect with the lunchtime trains. By 1917, Pearce’s Motors had become ‘motorised’ and, for almost sixty years, their buses provided a service from their home village, via West Looe to the railway station in East Looe. Over the course of time, the station was moved gradually out of the centre of East Looe – if they move it any further, it’ll be almost back at Sandplace – and the bus service lengthened at this end in order to compensate; over the same period, however, ever-increasing car ownership was clogging the narrow streets of Polperro so the service was shortened at that end and the terminus moved further out of the village! The Pearces’ original garage at Big Green incorporated a turntable in order to facilitate the manoeuvring of buses in and out of the cramped premises. This remained in use until after the last war before the turntable became the victim of floods and was rendered inoperable. The business was finally sold on 8 March 1974 to Deeble’s of Upton Cross. (Railway enthusiasts will know that the only two stations in the country to be currently designated ‘Halt’ in the National Rail Timetable are Coombe Junction Halt and St Keyne Wishing Well Halt, both on the Looe branch, and that Coombe Junction, served by only two trains a day in each direction, is currently the second least-used station in Britain, several weeks often passing between passengers boarding or alighting there!)
Photo taken by Alan Hall, c.1970, Looe Railway Station
©1970-2020 Alan R Hall All Rights Reserved.
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