LL711 Celebratory Run

Photographed firstly at Hingham by Luke Champney, before the rain
Today marks sixty five years since Eastern Counties LL711 entered service. To mark the occasion, owner Patrick Burnside took the preserved vintage bus on a run to Downham Market and back following the route of previous service 15. I have been bombarded with photographs from the run, which I was unable to attend due to work taking priority, and have chosen my favourites to shape around a report on the vehicle itself and the route it once ran.

The vehicle history, which Pat Burnside has helped piece together is as follows, is as follows;  LL711 was one of a final batch of four thirty five seat seat Bristol L5G single deckers delivered to Eastern Counties Omnibus Company in July 1950. The quartet were initially allocated to Surrey Street depot in Norwich. When new, LL711 was commonly allocated to the 33 out to Pilson Green and the 94 to Tuckswood. During the latter half of the 1950 she was allocated to Harleston Oustation to operate services out of Beccles and Bungay.

Cameron Robinson sends in this shot from the Desert Rats memorial
Ten or so years later LL711 moved to Northwold Outstation, where her history on the 15 began. The service was one of longest on the Eastern Counties network at the time, operating from Downham Market to Norwich via Stoke Ferry, Methwold, Northwold, Watton and Hingham to name a few. End to end, the route took some three hours; picking up ornate country villages en-route.

Pat points out that her final transfer came towards the end of 1967 when LL711 was sent to King's Lynn depot to become a regular on the 38 and 39. LL711 lasted just over one year until January 1968 when "one man operation" began to be rolled out across the company. At some point in between use at Northwold and King's Lynn, the original two window destination box was modified to house a third window on the roof line. Over time, LL711 completed over seventeen. years in service.

From Joe Wilson is this shot taken at Wereham whilst on a pub stop
This part is where Pat really comes into help; life after Eastern Counties. Like most local vehicles at the time, LL711 moved to Coltishall based motor dealer and scrapyard Ben Jordan, who quickly sold her to Simplex Switchgear Manufacturers of Sawston, Cambridgeshire. LL711 was repainted green and used as worker transport for seven more years - by this time totaling twenty four years of passenger carriage. Once withdrawn from Simplex, she passed via a Great Yeldham motor dealer to John Bemrose, a Lowestoft preservationist who kept her at the East Anglia Transport Museum at Carlton Colville. Later, she was sold to Trevor Murray, a Kessingland motor trader, who kept her firstly, near his home at Sotterley near Beccles, Suffolk, later moving her to a yard adjacent to his motor business in Kessingland a year or so later.

In November 1984, LL711 was acquired by Patrick Burnside who completely restored the bus to the condition it is kept in today. She debuted at the 1988 Norwich Bus Rally, which at the time was held at the now defunct police gala day at the Royal Norfolk Showground. As well as being a regular at local rallies since her full preservation in the mid 1980s, LL711 was used in the filming of the 1991 film How's Business. Notable also is LL711's long lost sister LL718, which forms part of the Eastern Transport Collection. LL718 operated at seven different outstations up until 1967 when she passed to a Lenwade based building contractor for the next ten years.
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About Kieran Smith

Norwich Buses Blog was founded in December 2013 by Sam Larke after he left another popular blog, Norwich Bus Page. Since it's launch, the site has grown dramatically, especially whilst written solely by Kieran Smith during 2015. The blog is now in it's third year and we look forward to more success and growth in the future. If you think you'd make a good writer for Norwich Buses Blog, please do get in touch via email: samuel.larke@gmail.com
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  1. Great write-up Kieran of this much enjoyed day out with LL 711 on the eve of her 65th birthday! Fifteen happy enthusiasts made it to Norwich for the 10:40 departure from Norwich, St Stephens Street and I'm most pleased to report that a great time was had by all, despite the persistent rain which dogged the outward trip between Hingham and Wereham! Such a pity you couldn't make it Kieran! It really is a pain when work gets in the way of the hobby, especially on a Sunday! Many thanks again for the excellent report.