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55th Anniversary of the opening of the M1

shadowrichards

proper brummie kid
Midland Red was a large bus/coach operator based in Birmingham and built its own vehicles in Edgbaston. When the M1 motorway opened 55 years ago (2[SUP]nd[/SUP] November 1959), it was known as the Birmingham-London motorway. Midland Red had designed and built an 80 mph coach which was available on day one of the opening of the motorway to operate between Digbeth and Victoria. The photograph shows the first two departures from Digbeth at 2pm Monday 2nd November 1959. For more see www.midlandred-motorwaycoaches.co.uk
007 4804 2.11.59  dh.jpg
 
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BernardR

Guest
I recall being overtaken by one we were only doing 70 MPH at the time.

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BernardR

Guest
One of my colleagues at Lucas had a twin brother who worked on the engine development at Midland Red.

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maypolebaz

master brummie
I recall being overtaken by one we were only doing 70 MPH at the time.

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I remember going on a trip to London, (probably 1962), in one of those coaches. From where I was sitting I could see the speedometer and can only say we were going faster than the 80 mph quoted above !
 

Radiorails

master brummie
The B&MMO (Midland Red) was not really a Birmingham based company.

It was founded in 1904 and based in the city until just before WW1 when the city took over much its city operations. It moved to Bearwood, which I understand was part of Smethwick, being based there until its carve up into separate companies in the early nineteen eighties.
 

horsencart

master brummie
Do you know if there will be a celebration in the the Coach Station, in Digbeth the last one that I attended was at the temporary Coach Station over the road
 

midrednut

New Member
Believe me they went a lot quicker than 80mph. When one went round MIRA with the press on board they were naturally impressed and amazed at the 86mph achieved. When asked about this Donald Sinclair replied that they would be 'turned down' for service. Drivers were advised not to exceed 100mph on service and not to engage 5th gear below 86mph. What a machine. A legend of the motorway network if ever there was one.
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
In the week the M1 opened we were talking about it in the office and after work we decided to jump in our cars and race down to Watford Gap Service Station for fish and chips ... we were young back then !
 

maypolebaz

master brummie
Believe me they went a lot quicker than 80mph. When one went round MIRA with the press on board they were naturally impressed and amazed at the 86mph achieved. When asked about this Donald Sinclair replied that they would be 'turned down' for service. Drivers were advised not to exceed 100mph on service and not to engage 5th gear below 86mph. What a machine. A legend of the motorway network if ever there was one.

On the trip I mentioned in #4, I saw the speedo registering 100 mph but didn't think anyone would believe me if I mentioned it.
No "crash barriers" in those days either !
 

norfolk brummie

gone but not forgotten
When the M1 first opened, I had a new Ford Prefect. All the gear, including whitewall tyres. I took my, then, girlfriend down the M1. No traffic, no speed limit. Drove flat out, foot hard down. When we got around Luton the water gauge needle was near to red, with the radiator about to explode. Soon discovered that those motors were not really built for motorway driving. Eddie
 

shadowrichards

proper brummie kid
Apocryphal anecdotes abound about the Midland Red motorway coaches. However, the facts may be read in my book Midland Red Motorway Coaches. (The speedo only went up to 80mph so anything above that can only be guesswork.) The later CM6 was more powerful than the CM5 and on the downhill could potentially reach 100 mph....
 

midrednut

New Member
Modern day drivers are very sceptical about the speeds these coaches achieved bur w were there! No crash barriers but also very little other traffic either, especially anything capable of keeping up with or catching them. A pal in Torbay remembers litterally bieng 'blown away' i his Bond mini car by one of them near Luton. The hetday of a great bus company.
 
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