The M5 motorway open on Friday 20th July 1962, and on the same day Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Company Limited (BMMO—Midland “Red” Motor Services) started operation of new “Motorway Express” Service X44 running an hourly service between Birmingham, Selly Oak and Worcester.
Previously bus links between the two cities had been provided by Service 144 with a typical journey time of 93 minutes, or Service X72 and Service X73 with a journey time of 80 minutes. By running via the newly opened motorway, Service X44 was able to reduce these times to 50 minues, which was faster than the railways at the time.
Service X44 was strictly Limited Stop with journeys from Birmingham to Worcester only picking up in Birmingham City Centre (Dudley Street), or Selly Oak (Oak Tree Lane), with the only drop-off point being Newport Street Bus Station in Worcester. Likewise, journeys towards Birmingham would only pick up at Newport Street Bus Station and drop-off at Oak Tree Lane or Dudley Street.
A variation of Service X44 was introduced as Service X43, which ran via Bearwood (Kings Head) between Birmingham City Centre and the motorway, and at the same time an additional stopping point at Northfield (Bell Inn) was introduced on Service X44. With the opening of the new Bull Ring Bus Station in Birmingham, Service X44 was re-routed to terminate there, and departed from Stand 9. Both Service X43 and Service X44 ran every two hours, interworked to maintain an hourly service between Birmingham and Worcester.
Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Company Limited (BMMO—Midland “Red” Motor Services) renamed to Midland Red Omnibus Company Limited (MROC) on Friday 29th March 1974.
1 Service X44 departed from Dudley Street in Birmingham until c. 1966, then moved to the new Bull Ring Bus Station, Stand 9.
2 Service X44 was Limited Stop, and did not pick up or set down in Northfield intil c. 1966.
3 Service X44 was Limited Stop, and did not pick up or set down at Red Hill.
|X44||BMMO||May||1963||Birmingham • Selly Oak • Worcester|
|June||1970||Birmingham • Selly Oak • Worcester|
On Saturday 13th January 1979, Midland Red Omnibus Company Limited (MROC) introduced their “Servernlink” MAP scheme in the Worcester, Bromsgrove and Malvern areas. At this time, the Sundays journeys of Service X43 and Service X44 were withdrawn and replaced with Service M43 and Service M44, which ran over the same Limited Stop route between Birmingham and Worcester but then continued past Worcester, calling at all stops, to Malvern Link, Pound Bank, Barnards Green to Great Malvern. Service M43 then ran via Wyche Cutting and Service M44 via Malvern Wells to British Camp.
Further changes to the “Servernlink” network came on Saturday 26th May 1979, when weekday and Saturday journeys of Service X43 and Service X44 were also withdrawn and replaced by Service M43 and Service M44 to The Malverns. Unlike Sunday journeys, these only ran as far as Great Malvern.
|X44||MROC||August||1974||Birmingham • Selly Oak • Worcester|
Use of Route Numbers M43 and M44 for the “Motorway Express” Service between Birmingham, Worcester and The Malverns was short-lived, and in August 1980[Exact Date Needed] the routes were renumbered back to their original Service X43 for journeys via Bearwood, and Service X44 for journeys via Selly Oak and Northfield.
However, unlike the original routes that had used these numbers from the 1960s, from this time the routes mostly used M5 junction 6 at the Worcester end and ran via the Warndon Housing Estate on the north side of the City, although a few peak-time journeys still ran via the original London Road route and used junction 7 to access the M5.
Most journeys also continued to The Malverns, running via Malvern Link, Pound Bank and Barnards Green to Great Malvern. Certain journeys continued to Malvern Wells, but unlike Service 144 that they had replaced they did not terminate at Upper Welland Turn, but ran via Haley Road and terminated at the junction of Rothwell Road. On Sundays only, buses terminated at British Camp, with Service X43 running via Wyche Cutting and Service X44 running via Malvern Wells to operate in a loop in alternating directions.
Midland Red Omnibus Company Limited (MROC) ceased trading as a bus and coach operator at the end of services on Saturday 5th September 1981. At this time, Service X43 and Service X44 passed to the newly formed Midland Red (West) Limited.
1 Off-peak journeys run via Warndon (Glovers Needle).
2 Monday to Saturday, certain journeys continue past Great Malvern to Malvern Wells (Rothwell Road).
3 On Sundays only, journeys continue to British Camp.
|X44||MROC||August||1980||Birmingham • Selly Oak • Worcester • British Camp|