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Surprisingly, even with the outbreak of World War II, Service M23 was operated during the 1940 summer season, but was withdrawn at the end of the season in late September 1940, and never returned.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|