Midland “Red”

Service X73: Service History


Service X73

Service X73 was operated by Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Company Limited (BMMO—Midland “Red” Motor Services) between Birmingham, Bromsgrove, Worcester, Tewkesbury and Cheltenham Spa, and was part of a group of services that linked Birmingham and Worcester with either Cheltenham Spa or Gloucester. The other services in the group were Service X72 to Gloucester and Service X74 to Cheltenham Spa via Pershore.

Service X73 (1929–1971)

Operated by Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Company Limited

Service X73 was introduced with Service X72 by Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Company Limited (BMMO—Midland “Red” Motor Services) in June 1929 partly replacing withdrawn Service 172, which was a Limited Stop version of Service 144 running between Birmingham and Worcester only. The route ran from Birmingham to Worcester over the same route as Service 144, but as Service X73 was not intended for local passengers a minimum fare system was in place, and unlike Service 172 this was not a Limited Stop Service. From Worcester, the service continued through Kempsey and Severn Stoke then crossed the river Severn to Upton-upon-Severn. Buses were required to turn around in Upton-upon-Severn before crossing back over the river to continue on the main road to Tewkesbury and Coombe Hill where it left the main road for Cheltenham Spa.

The M5 motorway opened on Friday 20th July 1962, and BMMO examined the option or rerouting the Service X72 and the other two services in the group to run via the M5 motorway between Rubery and Worcester. In 1964 the company posted a notice in timetables stating the change in route would reduce running times between Birmingham and Worcester from 80-minutes to 64-minutes, or from 166-minutes to 137-minutes between Birmingham and Cheltenham Spa. A copy of the proposed timetable was included and there was also a questionnaire inviting passengers who used the service to voice their opinions. Those opinions were clearly not favourable as the service was not changed to run via the motorway.

in c. 1968, the minimum fare system between Birmingham and Worcester ended and the services in the group became Limited Stop on certain sections of the route, and the route in Birmingham changed to run via Rednal and Lickey. The Limited Stop sections of the route were Birmingham City Centre to Lickey, Forest Inn to Worcester City Centre, and Tewkesbury to Cheltenham Spa, with all other sections of the route being normal stopping. At the same time, a short-working variation was introduced as Service X71, running between Birmingham and Bromsgrove or Worcester only.

This whole group of services was withdrawn on Friday 31st December 1971 and replaced by a new group of services, numbered in the range 371–373, that didn't include the Birmingham to Worcester section of the route. The Worcester to Cheltenham Spa section of Service X73 was replaced with new Limited Stop Service 373, and for those still requiring a connection to Birmingham most journeys were advertised with a connection at Worcester Bus Station with Service X43 or Service X44, but this often required a 15-minute wait.

Route Summary

  • Jun 1929–Dec 1971
  • Birmingham
  • Bromsgrove
  • Droitwich Spa
  • Worcester
  • Kempsey
  • Severn Stoke
  • Upton-upon-Severn
  • Tewkesbury
  • Cheltenham Spa


Timetable Archive

December1930Birmingham ↔ Worcester ↔ Tewkesbury ↔ Cheltenham Spa
March1932Birmingham ↔ Worcester ↔ Tewkesbury ↔ Cheltenham Spa
April1933Birmingham ↔ Worcester ↔ Tewkesbury ↔ Cheltenham Spa
January1935Birmingham ↔ Worcester ↔ Tewkesbury ↔ Cheltenham Spa
June1940Birmingham ↔ Worcester ↔ Tewkesbury ↔ Cheltenham Spa
June1957Birmingham ↔ Worcester ↔ Tewkesbury ↔ Cheltenham Spa
May1960Birmingham ↔ Worcester ↔ Tewkesbury ↔ Cheltenham Spa
June1970Birmingham ↔ Worcester ↔ Tewkesbury ↔ Cheltenham SpaWithdrawn Dec 1971