Last update
11th August 2009

Commercial route H1 started on 3rd September 2001, mainly using two Titans (T379 and T573) and a Metrobus (M802) in dedicated livery, all ex-London. Double deck operation continued to dominate for some while, although typical allocation today is drawn from the broader and increasingly single deck fleet. Three Northern Counties Olympians are now the standard offering.

High operational standards, a hint of tradition, and good quality front blind displays are all features of the typical offering. A heritage fleet is also owned, and has featured on "running days" on the H1 and other services. Some are pictured on our sister fotopic site. 

An increasing operation in the Thurrock area is where a some of the fleet can be seen in operation, but watch out for Imperial on TV
advertisements too!

As mentioned above, Imperial have a decided enthusiasm for preserving ex-London vehicles, and operate them as the heritage fleet. Having said that there is cross-over, and it's not unusual to see green Darts on commercial television, nor RM1641 on the H1, as witnessed in August 2005. RM909 has also seen service, and may be owned or just borrowed.

An example of the heritage fleet is RM1641, turned out with gold-leaf Imperial logos, the style of which suits the vehicle perfectly
 (R Hudson).


Leyland Titan
Disappearing fast from service everywhere, Imperial still operate Titans. Initially part of the regular fleet, appearances are now more sporadic in actual service on the H1.

One of the vehicles to initiate the H1 was well turned out T573, named "Spirit of Loughton".
 (R Hudson).


Leyland Olympian/Northern Counties 
Route H1 received an upgrade in November 2007, and part of the package was the introduction of more modern vehicles. Not exactly new, but when turned out to the high standards that Imperial offer, the compromise is small. They have London heritage, having worked for Kentish bus in the early days of route tendering.

Imperial Leyland Olympian/Northern Counties G521VBB

The position of the staircase gives away the duel door origins of these vehicles, even though they have since been converted to single door. 521, branded for the H1, is shown on 2007 Christmas special service H2. (R Hudson).


MCW Metrobus 
Metrobuses once dominated the Imperial fleet, but like the Titans, have very much declined. Many may in fact have actually now left. M's 802, 1434 and 1440 are ex-London,  others are from further a field. M116 carries an original Manchester blind layout, whilst GBU2V's has been modified a little. 

Pride of the fleet has to be M3, complete with white on black blinds, to the original 3-piece layout. A side destination blind is carried, but only ever used by one driver! (R Hudson).


MCW Metrobus MkII
A number of these vehicles have comer and gone, some have had, unusually for Imperial, quite a provincial look and heritage. Conversely, the remaining one operated in London under Harrow Buses, but had London-style front blind boxes added by Ensignbus. 
M1453 E453SON Imperial M1455 The provincial look, which is how the vehicle operated with London Buses in Harrow, was reduced whilst at Ensignbus by the fitment of LT blind layouts, which have been retained at Imperial. (R Hudson).


Leyland Olympian/ECW
Recently placed into service, and featuring a new variation of the livery. The latter vehicle is ex-Lothian Regional Transport. 

A regular on the H1, having replaced the MKII metros, is impressive looking A321YWJ. (R Hudson)
    Imperial B760GSC The blind layout and long wheelbase betray the Caledonian heritage of B760GSC. The vehicle also features high-back seats and dual doors. (R Hudson)


Leyland Olympian/Roe


  (R Hudson)


Leyland Atlantean/Roe
It's a very long time since one of these appeared in Harlow, although they were of course plentiful on town services back in the late 70's and early 80's. Imperial have an ex London Country example, and although the livery is frightful, one hopes that Imperial have ideas about bringing it back to something close to it's original colours.

Imperial Leyland Atlantean/Roe XPG201T

This vehicle has been used on school services in other parts of Essex, but makes an unusual out of service appearance in Harlow in November 2007. (R Husdon)

Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer II
A recent arrival, and regular on the H1 represents the first low floor vehicle in the fleet.

A vehicle with a one-piece number box has never been an obstacle for Imperial. R181VLA is seen on Velizy Avenue headed for Loughton. (R Husdon)


Dennis Dart/Plaxton Pointer
A number of these Darts are owned. They are regularly featured in TV commercials, but appearances on the H1 do occur.

Imperial Dennis Dart/Plaxton Pointer D822

An example of a Dart on the H1 is represented by D822 (no longer in the fleet) seen here leaving the Harlow bus station. (R Hudson).
  Imperial Dennis Dart/Plaxton Pointer DL261 After a spell in cream and lime green, DL261 has resurfaced in all over green. (R Hudson).


Dennis Dart/Northern Counties
Also 9m, one time London Northern, and in service with Imperial.

The livery and exterior condition of these retired London buses is a credit to the operator. Making a not too rare single deck appearance on the H1 is DN107. (R Hudson).


Dennis Dart SLF/Marshall Capital
Also one time London, this time ex-Metroline, a number of these Darts have started to appear with various Essex independents. Imperial is no exception, having taken a number into stock. 

During recent history, the H1 has terminated variously at Old Harlow, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Templefields, or the Bus Station. Unfortunately, blinds have made no distinction between them, as shown on S526KFL. (R Hudson).
    R710MEW has been out-shopped in a new mainly green livery. Note the London-style lower case destination and token via point on the side. (R Hudson)

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