Arriva London’s RMC 1453 drives to abandoned village for charity
For the last seven years, for one day each year, a full bus service, route 23A, has been laid on to an abandoned village in the middle of Salisbury Plain.
This strange route starts in Warminster in Wiltshire, and ends in Imber, an isolated ghost village that has been under British military occupation for more than 70 years.
The idea for the route started like many of the most unusual ideas in a pub, where Sir Peter Hendy, the then London Transport Commissioner, was having a drink with some friends. The conversation got around to ‘where’s the most unlikely place you could run a bus service to’ and after much discussion and a few more drinks, the place they decided on was Imber,
The route is registered and licensed by the Bath Bus Company and what began as a lively conversation in a pub, has become a charitable service that provides a once a year link to a lost world.
Imber, the town in question, once had almost 500 residents. But in 1943, the War Office, which owned the surrounding land, evicted all of them so that it could be used to train US troops for D-Day. The villagers were never allowed back, and the road to Imber, which remains part of the Army’s vast Salisbury Plain training grounds, is now closed for all but a few days each year.
The route is largely served by bus enthusiasts and this year Arriva London’s Heritage Fleet had the privilege of being part of the service, in the guise of RMC 1453, its Greenline Routemaster coach, which has also been adopted for historic tours by the National Trust.
The Arriva London crew welcomed aboard enough passengers during the day to contribute £297 to the grand total of over £6,500 which was collected for the two chosen charities, ‘The Friends of Imber Church’ and ‘The Royal British Legion’.
Although surrounded by the military, on a few days of each year, people are allowed back into the village, and the local church, which is not owned by the MoD, holds services.
Arriva London is always committed to supporting good causes and its Heritage Fleet, which is now an established part of London’s moving transport history, is always looking for new ways to get involved.
Other members of the fleet will be on show again in the coming months with RM 2217 in the Open City’s Architour, and the open topper RMC 1464, as a participant in this year’s Lord Mayor’s Show on November 14th.
If you would like to learn more about the Heritage Fleet, and maybe take the opportunity of seeing how one of our historic vehicles could be utilised for your celebration or special event, then contact our Commercial team on 020 8271 3411.
Published : Thu 23rd Nov. 2017 - Wed 17th Jan. 2018
Doing the right thing, one of our four brand values, is what we have been doing for the last six years by encouraging all of our employees to give to their favourite charities through our Payroll Giving scheme - during this time, they have given more than £1,000,000 pounds to over 160 charities.
Going to school is something we all had to do, but going to school with a red London double-decker bus, and letting four classes from year one come on board to ask questions about the bus, is a privilege we experienced this week at Newbury Park Primary School in North East London.
Last June, Arriva London was delighted to have been re-awarded the TfL contract to run route W6 (Edmonton Green – Southgate Station) for a further five years, starting in January 2018 with brand new buses.
As the festive season approaches, we all look forward to the good-will of giving and receiving, and this was truly illustrated last week when members of our staff made a tour of London, on our open top bus, to meet representatives of some of their charities they give to through their Payroll Giving and celebrate #GivingTuesday.
Arriva London scooped three awards at the National Payroll Giving Excellence Awards held in November.
Arriva London collected three prestigious awards at the UK Bus Awards held at the historic Troxy cinema venue in Limehouse, East London.