Imber bus service
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.
|Day||Sat 5 Sep||Sat 18 Sep||Sat 3 Sep||Mon 4 Jun*||Sat 3 Aug||Mon 25 Aug|
|Timetable|||| (as 2011)|||||
|VOSA registration|||||| (Var 0)|| (Var 1)|| (Var 2)|| (Var 3)|
|The Rose and Crown pub
|Shrewton, Parsons Green||x|
|The Bustard Inn pub||x||x|
|Gore Cross interchange
|Lavington Hill Vedette (sentry post)||x||x||x|
|New Zealand Farm Camp
|Brazen Bottom lay-by
|All Saints and St Mary church
* - 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.
All 5 of the Routemasters oerating the 2011 service pause for a photo opportunity while operating the last journey of the day, the 17:48 to Warminster. They're pictured at Tinkers Track facing west, halfway along the final leg, from Imber to Warminster. Left to right: RM1005, RMC1510, RML2344, RML2657 & RML2735.
RML2735 & RM1005 at the temporary terminus at Brazen Bottom, having arrived from Warminster. They're facing SSW in line with the direct route to Gore Cross, a short drive away down the straight track - Lavington Hill Vedette and the long route back to Gore Cross is in the other direction, away from the camera.
RM1005 leaves the training area through the access gate, heading east away from Imber onto the public road to Gore Cross. Despite wearing blinds for route 23A to Tilshead, the bus is infact empty - it visited Imber during one of the other open days (3 January 2011), to attend the cheque presentation to St. Giles Church for the previous year's bus service.
RM1005 displaying Imber blinds at the Regent Street Bus Cavalcade (22 June 2014)