|West Midlands Transport|
|Operator||National Express West Midlands|
|Vehicle||Dennis Trident 2 Alexander ALX400|
|Frequency||Up to every 7 minutes Monday - Saturday daytime, 10 minutes Sundays and every 20 minutes evenings|
|Journey time||52 minutes - 1hr 30 minutes|
|Day||04:30 - 00:35 Monday - Saturday, 07:05 - 00:31 Sunday|
| † peak vehicle requirement|
The 51, X51 and 951A are three National Express West Midlands bus services in the West Midlands, England. The services all link Walsall with Birmingham, with the 951A extending to Cannock via Bloxwich. They all follow the same route from Walsall to Birmingham.
- March 30 2008 - A2Z Travel withdraw their Sunday service on the 51
- November 25 2007 - A2Z Travel increase their Sunday frequency on service 51
- October 28 2007 - National Express West Midlands experiences an increase in its Sunday frequency.
- July 22 2007 - Diamond Bus withdraw night service 51N
- June 3 2007 - Diamond Bus withdraw their operations on the 51
- October 22 2006 - National Express West Midlands has a timetable variation in place on service 51
The origins of service 51 go back to the early part of the 20th century when a service was introduced between Walsall and Birmingham by a company that later became widely known as "Midland Red". The service was numbered 118 for many years. Around 1968 service 118 became a jointly operated service between Midland Red and new-to-the-route Walsall Corporation Transport. As a result, for transport enthusiasts the 118 service became a very interesting one since both operators often used vehicles that were unique to themselves. Midland Red often used buses of it's own manufacture (ie. BMMO) whilst Walsall Corporation had various specially modified types of manufacturers buses ranging from "short" Daimler Fleetlines to what was once the largest double deck service bus in the UK, ie. 56 (XDH56G) a 35 feet 10 inches long low-height Daimler CR36 with an 86 seater Northern Counties body. On 1 October 1969 West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive (WMPTE) tookover Walsall Corporation Transport so the service then became a jointly operated one between Midland Red and WMPTE. This situation prevailed until 3 December 1973 when WMPTE acquired most of the Midland Red bus operations in the West Midlands including service 118. Thus service 118 became operated solely by WMPTE. The use of service number 118 ceased around 1975 when the local Birmingham city service between Birmingham and Scott Arms (service 51) became co-ordinated with the 118 service. Buses operating from Walsall to Birmingham now used service number 51 instead of 118. Those journeys that did not operate the full length of the route used service designation 51E, the "E" indicating an exception to operating the full length of route. In this instance the vast majority of 51E journeys were journeys operating between Birmingham and Scott Arms.
Since deregulation (26 October 1986) service 51 has been consistently operated by West Midlands Travel. Various other operators seeing the route as a busy one have attempted to compete but have all subsequently withdrawn from the service. Such operators have included Tame Valley Travel, Birmingham Coach Company (later known as Diamond Bus), Chase Bus Services, Zaks Coaches and A2Z Travel.
- April 27 2008 - Service X51 is extended and operates during week-day peak hour and on Saturdays. As a result, the 951 is withdrawn, being directly replaced by the X51.
- April 27 2008 - Service X51 is extended and operates during week-day peak hour and on Saturdays. As a result, the 951 will be withdrawn in place of the extra X51 journeys. Service 951 extended from Walsall to Bloxwich.
- November 11 2007 - Service 951A is curtailed to run only between Birmingham and Cannock, from the terminus at Hednesford which was served by services 952 & 953 as these are now withdrawn.
Service X51, which was only recently introduced on Saturdays and weekday peaks, and service 951A are both limited stop services, whereas service 51 stops at all stops en route to Walsall. The 951A only operates during peak times, three trips in each direction.
According to the February 2008 Walsall Transport Users Forum, service 951A is to be renumbered service X52. The date for this change of number has not yet been annouced and would be rather confusing as service 52, which follows part of the same route as services 51, X51 and 951A only goes as far as Scott Arms before going to Perry Beeches.