From July 1922, the Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Company Limited (BMMO—Midland “Red” Motor Services) had operated summer season routes as the â€œRound the Hillsâ€ service. Initially this route had operated one journey from Great Malvern to North Malvern, West Malvern, Wyche Cutting, and back to Great Malvern via Wyche Road as an extension to existing Service 48. Later it was renumbered to Service 277 extended to include British Camp and Malvern Wells, with more journeys added.
On Saturday 8th October 1927, winter service timetable came into operation and as a summer season route, Service 277 was suspended. On Saturday 11th February 1928, BMMO renumbered their entire network, and at this time Service 277 became Service 373. However, this was a summer time only service so operation of the new Service 373 didn't start until the reintroduction of the summer timetable on Wednesday 30th May 1928.
â€œRound the Hillsâ€ Service 373 continued to operate during the summer months, which were usually June to early October, until the close of the 1934 season. During the 1930s, the BMMO network was expanding rapidly and the company was starting to run out of route numbers. To solve the problem, local bus networks were renumbered with numbers prefixed with a letter to denote the area, similar to those introduced for the new local bus network in Worcester in 1928. Thus on Monday 7th January 1935, all local services in Malvern were renumbered with â€œMâ€-prefix route numbers and Service 373 became Service M23.â€
Service 373 (and later Service M23) was operated by Worcester depot, probably using vehicles housed at their Portland Road â€œDormy Garageâ€ in Great Malvern on some or all journeys after that site opened in 1930.
â€ Surprisingly, even with the outbreak of World War II, Service M23 was operated during the 1940 summer season, but was withdrawn at the end of the season in late September 1940, and never returned.
Service 373 was introduced by Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Company Limited (BMMOâ€”Midland â€œRedâ€ Motor Services) as a variation to Service 372, running between Worcester, Leigh Court, Winsgrave, Alfrick, Longley Green, and Acton Beauchamp, on Fridays and Saturdays only. A bus service over the route had previously been operated by H.F. Taylor of Suckley (trading as â€œActon Beuchamp Transportâ€) , and this plus a small number of other routes passed to BMMO with the business of that operator on Thursday 1st July 1937.
The service was one of many withdrawn shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War due to fuel rationing, but many of the villages on the route continued to be served at a reduced timetable as Service 372 was not withdrawn.
1 Service 373 ran on Fridays and Saturdays only.
|May||1938||Worcester ↔ Leigh Court ↔ Alfrick ↔ Acton Green|
|September||1938||Worcester ↔ Leigh Court ↔ Alfrick ↔ Acton Green|
Service 373 was one of many that were withdrawn at the start of the Second World War, but while most were either never reinstated of had to wait until the late-1940s, Service 373 was operational again by the summer of 1944, albeit running over a shortened route between Worcester, Leigh Court, Winsgrave, and Alfrick on Saturdays only.
After the war, the service was extended and ran on additional days. From Saturday 7th February 1948 it ran on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, with the Tuesday journeys continuing to Longley Green. From Saturday 1st October 1949, market-day journeys were added on Thursdays only running to Bromyard.
By 1955, the Tuesday extensions to Longley Green and Thursday journeys had been withdrawn, but Friday journeys ran to Longley Green or Acton Green. The villages that had been previously served by the withdrawn journeys continued to be serviced by additional journeys operated by Service 372.
In the early 1970s, BMMO withdrew a large number of rural services across their entire network, and the group of services operating between Worcester, Alfrick and Suckley etc. were all withdrawn on Saturday 3rd April 1971. This version of Service 373 was withdrawn at this time along with Service 372 and Service 375, and not replaced by Midland Red.
1 Service 373 ran on Saturdays only between 1944 and 1948.
2 Extended to Longley Green on Tuesdays only.
3 Extended to Longley Green on Fridays only.
4 Extended to Herefordshire House on Wednesdays only.
5 Extended to Bromyard on Thursdays only for market day.
|October||1949||Worcester ↔ Leigh Court ↔ Alfrick|
|June||1957||Worcester ↔ Leigh Court ↔ Alfrick|
|October||1964||Worcester ↔ Leigh Court ↔ Alfrick ↔ Bromyard|
A new version of Service 373 was introduced by Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Company Limited (BMMOâ€”Midland â€œRedâ€ Motor Services) on Saturday 1st January 1972, as part of a group of services to replace Service X72, Service X73 and Service X74, which were all withdrawn on the last day of 1971. These withdrawn services had been historic Midland â€œRedâ€ Express services running between Birmingham, Worcester and Cheltenham or Gloucester since the inter-war period.
Unlike Service X73, the new Service 373 ran only between Worcester and Cheltenham and was not intended to be an Express service. It was still advertised as a Limited Stop service, but this was only between Tewkesbury and Cheltenham, and the rest of the route was normal stopping. Most journeys connected with â€œMotorway Expressâ€ Service X43 or Service X44 at Worcester, with through fares being available, maintaining the connection between Birmingham and Cheltenham that had been provided by Service X73.
From Sunday 16th July 1972, all Sunday journeys were changed to call at all stops on the route, with the timetable adjusted slightly to give more running time on the section of the route that had previously been Limited Stop.
By August 1980 (exact date needed), the Monday to Friday working of Service 373 had been cut back to run only between Worcester and Tewkesbury. On Saturdays and Sundays only, the service continued past Tewkesbury to Gloucester. Previously, Gloucester had been served by Service 372, but by this time that service number was being used only for short-workings between Worcester and Baynhall.
Midland Red Omnibus Company Limited ceased trading as a bus and coach operator at the end of operations on Saturday 5th September 1981, and Service 373 passed to the newly formed Midland Red (West) Limited from the following day.
1 Most journeys connect at Worcester Bus Station with Service X43 or Service X44 to/from Birmingham.
2 Most journeys operate to a Limited Stop schedule between Tewkesbury and Cheltenham Spa.
3 Runs to Gloucester on Saturdays and Sundays only.
|March||1972||Worcester ↔ Kempsey ↔ Tewkesbury ↔ Cheltenham Spa|
|July||1972||Worcester ↔ Kempsey ↔ Tewkesbury ↔ Cheltenham Spa|
|February||1974||Worcester ↔ Kempsey ↔ Tewkesbury ↔ Cheltenham Spa|
|May||1975||Worcester ↔ Kempsey ↔ Tewkesbury ↔ Cheltenham Spa|
|February||1976||Worcester ↔ Kempsey ↔ Tewkesbury ↔ Cheltenham Spa|
|August||1980||Worcester ↔ Kempsey ↔ Tewkesbury|
Midland Red Omnibus Company Limited (MROC) ceased trading as a bus and coach operator at the end of services on Saturday 5th September 1981, and assets and services were divided between five newly formed operating companies. Responsibility of the Service 372, Service 373 and Service 374 group was assumed from the next day by Midland Red (West) Limited, with the operations of Worcester depot.
While Service 372 ran direct between Worcester and Gloucester, most journeys were run as variation Service 373 which diverted via Naunton and Twyning Green, and some journeys also ran via Ripple. Later, one journey was diverted to run via Kinnersley and Earls Croome which had previously only been served by variation Service 374.
During the 1983 Summer Season only, certain journeys ran as â€œMidland Expressâ€ Service X73 over the same route as Service 373 between Worcester and Gloucester, then continued to Bristol. Also, â€œMidland Expressâ€ Service X72 ran to Bristol as an extended variation to Service 372.
|March||1982||Worcester ↔ Kempsey ↔ Tewkesbury ↔ Gloucester|
|June||1986||Worcester ↔ Kempsey ↔ Tewkesbury ↔ Gloucester|
Service 373 operated by Midland Red West Limited between Worcester, Upton-upon-Severn, Tewkesbury, and Gloucester.
|December||1986||Worcester ↔ Kempsey ↔ Tewkesbury ↔ Gloucester|
|May||1988||Worcester ↔ Kempsey ↔ Tewkesbury ↔ Gloucester|
|August||1992||Worcester ↔ Kempsey ↔ Tewkesbury ↔ Gloucester|
|February||1995||Worcester ↔ Kempsey ↔ Tewkesbury ↔ Gloucester|
Midland Red West Limited renamed to First Midland Red Buses Limited on Friday 26th March 1999, and under the control of FirstGroup a large number of services were cut back or withdrawn over the next few years. At the end of operations on Saturday 2nd November 2002, the Worcester, Tewkesbury and Gloucester group of services were cut back to run only between Worcester and Upton-upon-Severn, with Gloucester, Tewkesbury, Twining and Ripple etc no longer being served.
Further cuts came at the end of operations on Saturday 4th September 2004, when all services between Worcester and Upton-upon-Severn were withdrawn. Journeys between Worcester, Kempsey and Baynhall were replaced by extending Service 32, but the Baynhall, Severn Stoke and Upton-upon-Severn section of the route was no longer served.
New Service 373 was introduced by First Midland Red Buses Limited on Monday 1st September 2014 between Worcester and Tewkesbury as a variation of Service 363, running over the same route between Worcester, Hanley Swan, Upton-upon-Severn, and Ryall. Service 373 then diverted from the Service 363 route to run via Naunton, Ripple and then direct to Tewkesbury without serving Twyning. Both Service 363 and Service 373 ran every two hours and were interwork to give an hourly frequency on most sections of the route.
For the first year, the Naunton and Ripple section of the route received funding from Worcestershire County Council. At the end of the year First Midland Red offered to serve the villages on a commercial basis but with a reduced number of journeys, so from Monday 7th September 2015 the timetable changed and Service 373 no longer ran via Naunton with this section of the route being replaced by certain journeys of Service 363 diverting. From the same time all Service 363 and Service 373 journeys ran via Twyning and a new Service 361 variation was introduced running direct along the main road without serving Hanley Swan, Naunton, Ripple or Twyning. Both services now ran every three hours giving an overall frequency of every 90-minutes.
After about six months of running commercially through Naunton and Ripple, the company decided it was not profitable and decided to withdraw services from those villages. On Sunday 10th April 2016 the timetable changed again and the Upton-upon-Severn to Tewkesbury section of Service 373 was withdrawn. The service frequency again changed, returning to each service running every two hours. This restored the hourly frequency between Worcester and Upton-upon-Severn but as Service 373 no longer ran to Tewkesbury that section was reduced to having a bus every two hours.
At the same time, Service 362 and Service 364 were withdrawn leaving Tunnel Hill and Welland without a bus service, so the route of both Service 363 and Service 373 was changed to run this way, with Hanley Castle only being served by variations to Hanley Castle High School. Service 373 also ran via The Grafton which had previously been served by Service 364.
On arriving in Upton-upon-Severn, all journeys of the shortened Service 373 changed to Service 332, returning to Worcester via Earls Croome, Kinnersley and Kempsey, while Service 332 journeys from Worcester changed to Service 373 to return to Worcester. Through tickets were available between Upton-upon-Severn and Hanley Swan to replace the facility previous provided by Service 362.
Service 373 was withdrawn at the end of operations on Saturday 15th September 2018, when part-funding from Worcestershire County Council came to an end.
|New September||2014||Worcester ↔ Old Hills ↔ Upton-upon-Severn ↔ Tewkesbury|
|September||2015||Worcester ↔ Old Hills ↔ Upton-upon-Severn ↔ Tewkesbury|
|April||2016||Worcester ↔ Old Hills ↔ Upton-upon-Severn|
|October||2017||Worcester ↔ Old Hills ↔ Upton-upon-Severn|
|April||2018||Worcester ↔ Old Hills ↔ Upton-upon-Severn|
|April||2018||Worcester ↔ Old Hills ↔ Upton-upon-Severn||Withdrawn Sep 2018|