Sandsend is a village on the North Yorkshire coast two miles north of Whitby. It lies at the bottom of Lythe Bank, a lengthy gradient of 1 in 4 which takes the main road from the coast to the moors. The village was served by United's Middlesbrough - Whitby - Scarborough service, originally service 65, but renumbered 255/256 in 1968. Nowadays the service is operated by Arriva as service 5/X5.

Don McKeown

United Bristol MW6G 2673 (8673 HN) is seen on the sea front. The cliffs of Kettleness can be seen in the background. By coincidence, United's MW6G's had cream window rubbers, and the MW5G's had black window rubbers, the change to the larger engine in United's fleet coincided with ECW's change of specification. The MW5G's were more common on this route, which remained conductor operated well into the seventies.

United LS5G 2274 (274 EHN) arrives at the bottom of Lythe Bank. This bus was previously numbered BU 274, and later U274. It has descended the bank in 1st gear, hence the dense cloud of exhaust smoke. Roadside signs were maintained by United telling drivers of ascending buses to engage 1st gear. At the top of the steepest part of the bank, a second sign told drivers "You may build up your gears from here", and at the top, near Lythe Church a final sign stated "all Clear." On the descent, the sign by Lythe Church told drivers to "Stop here and engage second gear and retain to next sign;" the next sign said "engage 1st gear and retain to bottom of hill."

United MW5G 2565 (565 LHN) is seen at the foot of Lythe Bank, about to start the climb. The first 82 MW5G's in the fleet had full destination displays at the front, with the T-type display at the rear. Sadly, the top destination box soon fell into disuse, with the destination shown in what had been the Via box. The rear displays were taken out of use completely.

Seen in the same location is an early RELL6G, 4060 (KHN 760D). United operated the prototype RELL6G and had sixty early examples of the model with manual gearbox and this style of bodywork. As far as I know none of this variant were fitted for one-man-operation.

Another MW5G is seen just starting the climb; this is MW5G 2532 (932 JHN), originally BU 532. The service was still conductor operated, and the use of five-cylinder engine buses was normal for this reason, despite the gradient. At this time, the MW6G's were mostly used for one-man-operation.

Halfway up Lythe Bank, RESL6G 2863 (JHN 563K) is seen descending past the United sign at the top of the steepest part of the bank. This was a type of bus not usually seen on the route.


23/08/14 - 11:33

Thanks for a terrific set of photos from a rather nice part of the world. I particularly like the smoking LS! I'm astonished to find that United seem to have made a deliberate choice to use five-cylinder engine vehicles on a route with such a severe climb. By the time I became more familiar with this route it was dominated by LHs and ex-West Yorkshire Nationals (which probably smoked as much as the LS).

David Beilby

24/08/14 - 10:45

A few years earlier these halcyon scenes would have been dominated by the imposing Sandsend Viaduct, a huge steel construction that carried the former railway line between Whitby and Teesside, and which closed to traffic in 1958.
In the second photo, just behind and above the LS, the large wall with the diagonally sloping edge was the retaining wall where the end of the viaduct - coming across from the left - joined onto the embankment which led onto the trackbed along the cliff side and into a tunnel. The wall can be clearly seen in the view in this link:
Great photographs Don of a lovely part of Yorkshire.

John Stringer

24/08/14 - 18:47

A fascinating set of pictures - thanks for sharing them. One minor point - some of the Series 1 RELLs were operated OMO later in their lives. I recall traveling on one from Morpeth to Newcastle, in 1977 or '78.

Nigel Frampton



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