Imber bus service

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The Imber bus service (www.imberbus.wordpress.com) is an annual one day a year bus service for the abandoned village of Imber on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England, which has run since 2009 using vintage Routemaster buses, and from 2012 also featuring New Routemasters. It was conceived after the Warminster Vintage Bus Running Day run was cancelled and enthusiasts were looking for a replacement event. Operated by the Bath Bus Company, it's run as a public transport bus service (ie registered with VOSA, collecting fares, running to a published timetable) running as route 23A, but all profits are donated to charity. It's used by locals, tourists, bus enthusiasts and churchgoers wishing to attend the annual patronal festival in St Giles' church. The service has so far always run from the town of Warminster. The route was initially a straight run to Imber to a terminus beyond, but from 2011 it has evolved to take in various stops on a number of routes, with most calling at an interchange at Gore Cross. The precise route (and hence stops served) depends on the specific timetabled journey, with some being circular, others being of a hub/spoke format on Gore Cross, and with some even missing out Imber altogether.

Service 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Day Sat 5 Sep Sat 18 Sep Sat 3 Sep Mon 4 Jun* Sat 3 Aug Mon 25 Aug
Timetable [1] [2] (as 2011) [3] [4]
VOSA registration [5] [6] [7] (Var 0) [8] (Var 1) [9] (Var 2) [10] (Var 3)
Stops used
Warminster x x x x x x
Imber x x x x x x
The Rose and Crown pub
Tilshead
x x x x x x
Shrewton, Parsons Green x
Airman's Corner x
The Bustard Inn pub 51°12′50″N 1°52′13″W / 51.213803°N 1.870181°W / 51.213803; -1.870181 x x
Gore Cross interchange
(crossroads)
51°15′28″N 1°59′18″W / 51.257913°N 1.988418°W / 51.257913; -1.988418 x x x
West Lavington x x x
Market Lavington x x x
Lavington Hill Vedette (sentry post) 51°16′47″N 1°58′01″W / 51.279783°N 1.966928°W / 51.279783; -1.966928 x x x
New Zealand Farm Camp
(temporary stop)
51°15′31″N 2°02′20″W / 51.258585°N 2.038822°W / 51.258585; -2.038822 x x x
Brazen Bottom lay-by
(temporary stop)
51°16′01″N 1°58′46″W / 51.26691°N 1.979578°W / 51.26691; -1.979578 x x x
All Saints and St Mary church
Chitterne
51°11′44″N 2°00′46″W / 51.19566°N 2.012826°W / 51.19566; -2.012826 x
Stoke Hill x
Buses used
Routemasters
No. Reg.
RM5 VLT 5 x
RM25 VLT 25 x
RM613 WLT 613 x
RM1005 5 CLT x x x x x
RMC1461 461 CLT x
RMC1464 464 CLT x
RMC1510 510 CLT x x x x x
RM1978 ALD 978B x x x
RCL2226 CUV 226C x
RML2344 CUV 344C x x x x x
RML2657 NML 657E x x
RML2665 SMK 665F x x x x
RML2735 SMK 735F x x x x
New Routemasters
No. Reg.
LT1 LT61 AHT x
LT24 LTZ 1024 x
LT98 LTZ 1098 x
LT150 LTZ 1150 x
LT246 LTZ 1246 x

* - The 2012 service was moved to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Weekend.

In 2012, RM2185 (reg. CUV 185C) was also present, but parked up at Imber rather than operating on the service.

LT1's use on the 2012 service marked the type's first public use outside London, and the first while using the conductor to take actual fares. This was done partly to learn about how the design coped in a new environment, markedly different to its usual operating area in London, although LT1 operated the service in diesel only mode. LT24's use on the 2013 service was in hybrid mode - it was able to make the journey to and from London and run the service without refueling.