Sunday 1 October 2023

X4 Saltburn to Whitby by Paul Ogilvie

Paul Ogilvie has recently taken a trip on the Arriva service X4 from Saltburn to Whitby via the coastal route.

Paul says "This route has been on my bucket list for a while. I’m compiling details of my journey which I took 2 weeks ago. Below is a photo from United days when the operated as 258.

It’s definitely not a dangerous route BUT certainly a challenge for the drivers on the numerous hairpin bends and banks.

As I mentioned, this service has always been on my bucket list to do. The service actually commences from Middlesbrough and operates via the coastal route to Whitby. The full route is just shy of a 2 hour journey to cover around 35 miles with a 30 minute frequency.
Generally the service is operated with Wright bodied StreetLites.

So a couple of weeks ago I actually joined the service X4 at Saltburn Station Square. Sadly the service is prone to delays due in the main to the notorious bends at Saltburn and Sandsend. Motorists just can’t understand why a bus is approaching on the wrong side of the road ! AND they are reluctant to move resulting in delays to the service.

The scenery is quite spectacular on either side of the road for most of the journey. Departing Saltburn you have wonderful views of the cliffs and pier, descending towards Skeleton Beck.
If you’re really lucky you can see the train on the miniature railway to the right. Further on beyond Loftus is the Boulby Pot Ash Mine with its numerous rail heads.

The service then serves Staithes, Runswick Bay and onto Lythe.
From Lythe the service descends Lythe Bank at 1 in 4 ! for 1/2 mile. The views of the coast here towards Whitby are amazing and then the pretty village of Sandsend is reached. A couple more twists takes you along the seafront with views of Whitby getting closer.

Whitby is reached via West Cliff where Arriva once had their depot. The route descends Chubb Hill Road to where Whitby Station Square is reached.

Longer vehicles have sometimes come to grief on the notorious Saltburn Bank

As you’d imagine at this time of the year loadings were very popular. On departure from Sandsend we had a full standing load and right to the back. Even though the service was running late the driver was an absolute STAR. He was explaining about the £2 fare and dealing with many foreign oap customers. In fact I’ve dropped Arriva a line commending his actions".

Watch a video here showing an Arriva bus driver climbing Saltburn Bank during snowy conditions.