Midland “Red”

Service 25: Service History


Service 25

The route for Service 25 was first operated on Saturday 7th June 1913, when the Worcester Electric Traction Company Limited started running daily motor omnibuses between Droitwich Spa and Worcester, with certain journeys continuing to Great Malvern (Beauchamp Hotel). This service proved to be very popular and on Monday 27th October 1913 the route was extended to Bromsgrove, then on Saturday 20th December 1913 to Rubery with a connecting bus operated by Birmingham Corporation to Selly Oak where there was a tram link to Birmingham City Centre.

On Saturday 15th August 1914, the Worcester Motor Transport Company Limited took over the bus routes of the Worcester Electric Traction Company Limited, following the merger and reorganisation of a number of companies in the Worcester and Kidderminster area. Shortly after this, the company entered into an agreement with Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Company Limited (BMMO—Midland “Red” Motor Services) to extend the route once more and run it as a joint service, and with this the route number 25 was first used.

Service 25 (1914–1925)

Operated by Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Company Limited

On Saturday 29th August 1914, the Worcester Motor Transport Company Limited extended their Rubery to Great Malvern route to run all the way to Birmingham City Centre, thus removing the need to change at Rubery and Selly Oak. From this time it was operated by both Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Company Limited (BMMO—Midland “Red” Motor Services) and the Worcester Motor Transport Company Limited as a joint operation, running as BMMO Service 25. Timetables advertised this as a “through service” but in practice, passengers were required to change buses in Bromsgrove.

Great Britain entered the First World War on Tuesday 4th August 1914, and soon after the entire fleet operated by Worcester Motor Transport Company Limited (except for a few spare bus bodies) were commandeered by the War Office for use as troop transport vehicles. This started in September 1914 and this company were soon unable to operate, so from Wednesday 4th November 1914 BMMO took over all their operations, including the full route of Service 25, short-working journeys between Worcester and The Malverns as Service 36, along with other routes in the Worcester and Kidderminster area.

Now under the full operation of BMMO, a new Service 25 timetable was introduced from Saturday 7th November 1914 that removed the need for the passenger to change buses in Bromsgrove and thus giving the first direct bus service between Great Malvern, Worcester, Droitwich, Bromsgrove and Birmingham. The additional vehicles required were housed at two sites in Worcester, both being owned by Worcester Motor Transport Company Limited, with vehicles operating from the Birmingham end being housed at BMMO’s Bearwood depot.

By May 1915 a bus company operating local routes in Malvern, W. & B. Woodyatt Limited, had also lost a number of vehicles to the war effort and were struggling to meet demand, operating all their routes with just one vehicle to a much reduced timetable. BMMO had noticed this and on Thursday 23rd March 1916 the BMMO Traffic Manager, Mr OC Power, wrote to the Licensing Committee to apply to extend Service 25 to Malvern Wells. He offered a direct hourly service to Birmingham and pointed out numerous advantages this would bring to Malvern in general, and also offered to take over all the Woodyatts local services in Malvern at the same time. Woodyatts agreed to give up their operations and BMMO started running local services in Malvern on Saturday 22nd April 1916, with Service 25 being extended to run to Malvern Wells from the same date. However, within six weeks the company was forced to reduce the number of journeys operated due to war-time shortages.

In 1917, the Ministry of Munitions warned all bus companies that they should abandon all services that were not of national importance, so because of this and general fuel restrictions, the service was shortened to run only between Worcester and Malvern Wells. Eight vehicles per day were used, and all were converted to run on coal gas.

Normal services resumed after the war ended and the service frequency was increased to run every 45-minutes, with certain days seeing a frequency of every 30-minutes during the summer. On Monday 26th July 1920, a new depot was opened in Bromsgrove providing extra capacity on the route, and this was followed in April 1921, when one of the two Worcester Motor Transport sites used to house buses in Worcester passed to BMMO.

On Saturday 16th May 1925, Service 25 was renumbered to Service 125 in an effort to give more numbering room in BMMO’s rapidly expanding network, but this number was short-lived and the route soon became known as Service 144.

Timetable Archive

25 BMMOAugust1924Birmingham • Bromsgrove • Worcester • Malvern Wells