Midland Red (East) Limited started trading on 6th September 1981, taking over bus and local coach operations from the Midland Red Omnibus Company Limited (MROC) in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. Initially, Midland Red (East) Limited had an allocation of 181 vehicles taken from the MROC fleet, with 52 of these being Daimler Fleetline double-deck buses.
Not only did Midland Red (East) Limited inherit more Daimler Fleetlines from MROC than all the other new “Midland Red” companies combined, but the company also acquired over 100 examples of second-hand vehicles from other operators, mostly London Transport, within the first few years of operation.
The management of the newly formed Midland Red (East) Limited wished to distance themselves from the image of “Midland Red” which they believed had been tarnished during the 1970s, so the company re-branded under the Midland Fox name soon after formation, and official renamed to Midland Fox Limited on 24th January 1984.
MROC operated 95 Daimler Fleetline double-deck buses when the company split on 5th September 1981, which were divided between three of the five new bus-operating companies created in its place. Midland Red (East) Limited received fifty-two of these vehicles, which was more than half of the entire double-deck fleet of the parent company.
After formation, Midland Red (East) Limited acquired an additional two type D13 Daimlers, fleet numbers 6275 and 6277 (YHA275J-277J). Both these vehicles had passed to Midland Red (South) Limited when MROC split, and then passed to Midland Red (East) Limited in October 1981.
Midland Red (East) Limited renamed to Midland Fox Limited on 24th January 1984, and by this time all of the type D12 and most of the type D13 Daimlers inherited from MROC had been withdrawn and replaced by newer ex-London Transport examples. The last of the type D13 vehicles were withdrawn by Midland Fox Limited by the end of 1985.
From December 1981, Midland Red (East) Limited started to acquire large numbers of London Transport class DMS and DM Daimler Fleetline double-deck buses. Initially these came from dealers Ensign Bus Company Limited, who held the contract with London Transport to dispose of the vehicles, but examples acquired later came directly from London Transport. A small number had seen service with other operators before passing to Midland Red (East) Limited, and notable examples of these were seven vehicles which had been used for driver training by London Country for two years before passing to Midland Red East.
Examples acquired in the early 1980s were sent to Central Works be overhauled and repainted before entering service. They also had Midland Red style blind apertures fitted and where necessary the centre doors removed. Class DM vehicles had been crew-operated by London Transport, so these also needed to be converted to one-man operation. As Midland Red East, later renamed to Midland Fox, gradually severed its ties with the old Midland Red this practice ceased and some or all of the work was carried out in-house. Midland Fox operated later acquisitions in their original configuration as double door vehicles.
The DMS and DM classes were considered unsuccessful and were unpopular with drivers, engineering staff and the public while in service with London Transport. However, they found much more favour with Midland Red (East) Limited as the two main problems that faced them in London, namely maintenance and the change from crew-operated vehicles to one-man operation, did not apply. Issues with adapting maintenance procedures did not exist as Midland Red East and it predecessor had operated similar vehicles for almost twenty years, and all routes operated by the company had already been converted to one-man operation2.
By the end of 1983, fifty-six examples of the type had been acquired by Midland Red (East) Limited, replacing all of the older type D12 and most type D13 that the company inherited from MROC at its formation on 6th September 1981. The company renamed to Midland Fox Limited on 24th January 1984, and continued to acquire examples of the type until around late 1992, by which time the early examples were around twenty years old and the company had operated over 100 examples of the type.