Service X91 was introduced by Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Company Limited (BMMO—Midland “Red” Motor Services) on Saturday 29th June 1929, running daily once in each direction between Leicester (Western Boulevard) and Great Malvern (Belle Vue Terrace), departing Leicester at 09:15, or 09:30 on Sundays, with a journey time of 4 hours 42 minutes to Great Malvern. The return journey departed Great Malvern at 17:10 and took 4 hours 37 minutes to reach Leicester.
On Saturday 8th February 1930, Service X91 was extended at the Malvern end to Ledbury and Hereford (St Peter's Square) making it, at around 112 miles, the longest stage carriage bus service (i.e., calling at all stops on the route) in the country.
Initially, the service was cut back during the winter months to run only on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, with daily service being resumed in the summertime. However, by 1932, winter operation was changed to run on Monday, Saturday and Sunday, and summer operation still ran daily but had an additional journey operated by Hereford depot, so the service ran twice a day in each direction.
This continued unchanged until Saturday 23rd September 1939, when Service X91, along with many other Midland Red services, was suspended due to the Second World War, which had started three weeks earlier. The service was operated again in 1940 during the summer season, from Saturday 13th July 1940 to Sunday 22nd September 1940, with one return journey on Saturdays and Sundays only. At the end of the summer season, Service X91 was again suspended and did not return until after the end of the war.
1 For certain Winter Season operations, journeys on Mondays terminate at Worcester and connect with Service 420 to Hereford.
2 Operated one return journey on Saturdays and Sundays only during the Summer Season.
|December||1930||Leicester ↔ Stratford-upon-Avon ↔ Worcester ↔ Hereford|
|March||1932||Leicester ↔ Stratford-upon-Avon ↔ Worcester ↔ Hereford|
|May||1938||Leicester ↔ Stratford-upon-Avon ↔ Worcester ↔ Hereford|
|September||1938||Leicester ↔ Stratford-upon-Avon ↔ Worcester ↔ Hereford|
|July||1940||Leicester ↔ Stratford-upon-Avon ↔ Worcester ↔ Hereford||Withdrawn Sep 1940|
With the war ended, BMMO started to reinstate services that had been withdrawn due to fuel rationing in 1939, and Service X91 was one of the first to return, running again from Saturday 1st June 1946 over the same route as before the war.
Until the late 1960s, the Service X91 was operated by one crew from Hereford depot and one from Leicester working the whole route, once in each direction. The journey time was 5½ hours each way, with a generous meal break of around 1½ hours at the terminus, making a 12½ hour day for the crews. Today this would be illegal under driving hours regulations, but in days-gone-by, it was quite common for staff to work double shifts so a 12½ hour day would not have been unusual. In around 1969 the workings were changed so crews would set out from Hereford and Leicester and swap buses at Stratford-upon-Avon, with vehicles working the whole route but the crews would return their home depot having worked only half the route. Later, in the mid-1970s, the workings were again changed so that vehicles would return to their home depots and through passengers changed at Stratford-upon-Avon.
|October||1955||Leicester ↔ Stratford-upon-Avon ↔ Worcester ↔ Hereford|
|June||1957||Leicester ↔ Stratford-upon-Avon ↔ Worcester ↔ Hereford|
|May||1960||Leicester ↔ Stratford-upon-Avon ↔ Worcester ↔ Hereford|
|May||1968||Leicester ↔ Stratford-upon-Avon ↔ Worcester ↔ Hereford|
On Saturday 19th October 1974, the Service X91 route was changed between British Camp and Great Malvern to run along Jubilee Drive and Wyche Cutting, and therefore Service X91 no longer served Malvern Wells. It is believed this change was made following requests from passengers.
On Saturday 31st May 1980, with the introduction of the Leamington & Warwick MAP scheme, Service X91 was shortened to run only between Hereford and Stratford-upon-Avon. The Leicester to Coventry Motorway Express Service X67 was extended to Stratford-upon-Avon to replace the withdrawn section of Service X91 service but, as the X67 followed the M69 motorway, Nuneaton and Hinkley were no longer served.
Three months later, on Saturday 30th August 1980, the Service X91 route was again changed in the Malvern area. At this time it was diverted to run via the Colwall between Wyche Cutting and Ledbury, with British Camp no longer being served.
At the break-up of MROC in September 1981, service X91 was withdrawn and, at the request of Hereford & Worcester County Council, was replaced in part by new Service X51 running only between Great Malvern and Stratford-upon-Avon. The Hereford to Great Malvern section of the route was not directly replaced.
On 7th May 1983, Midland Red (West) Limited introduced a limited stop “Midland Express” service between Birmingham, Kidderminster and Aberystwyth, operating on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays during the summer months only. This service also carried the route number X91 but had nothing in common with the original Leicester to Hereford service operated by BMMO.
|May||1977||Leicester ↔ Stratford-upon-Avon ↔ Worcester ↔ Hereford|
|March||1978||Leicester ↔ Stratford-upon-Avon ↔ Worcester ↔ Hereford|
|August||1980||Hereford ↔ Worcester ↔ Stratford-upon-Avon||Withdrawn Sep 1981|