Monday 11 June 2012

New Bus for London on Imber Services

Phil G has sent us pictures of the Imber services that operated on 4th June, with a star guest taking part in the proceedings.

Amidst all the special Jubilee events that took place during the weekend was one that went unoticed by the National Press, namely the first local bus service operation outside Greater London by a Borismaster 

For the last few years, a small group of bus industry professionals have organised a special bus service across the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, primarily to serve the lost village of Imber which was evacuated in 1943 to enable the area to be used as a military training ground.  The service, 23A, runs once a year but unlike other one-off events run by enthusiasts using preserved vehicles, this is a fully registered local bus service complete with roadside timetables, full destination dislays and conductors taking fares.  The service even appears on Traveline !
Four of the six vehicles used on the day   © Phil G
RM1510 crosses the plain, complete with Jubilee decorations, unperturbed by the the sign on the left warning of "unexploded military debris!   © Phil G  
The service is normally operated by former London Transport Routemasters from a variety of different sources, but this year they were joined by LT1 - the prototype New Bus for London on what is believed to be the first use of this type in commercial passenger service outside Greater London.  The bus performed faultlessly throughout the day but the open rear platform and dusty conditions across the plain meant that it needed a very thorough cleaning when it got back to London !

LT1 On hire to the French !  Service 23A is registered by the Bath Bus Company which is now part of the french RATP group. © Phil G   
 LT1 pulls away from Tinkers Track, high on Salisbury plain. © Phil G    
RM2665 waits for passengers to finish their pints in the Rose & Crown at Tilshead.   © Phil G 
RML2657 and RM1978 head out of imber towards Warminster Station  © Phil G  
RM2344 approaches Gore Cross interchange en route from the terminus at Brazen Bottom   © Phil G  
Mixing with the Military ! - Army trainees pass RM2665 at New Zealand Farm Camp    © Phil G 
A few photographs of the different vehicles in use are shown here but a much more comprehensive selection are available on Flickr at . 

Phil G