Dennis Dart J317XVX was my first bus and was acquired on 16th October 2010 from a private seller in Weymouth, Dorset, and entered preservation proper from that date. It was rallied for the first time during the 2011 season.
The vehicle has Wright Handybus bodywork and was new to County Bus at Grays garage in February 1992. Under County Bus, she carried the fleet number DW317 though that had changed to 3350 once Arriva came to Grays.
The bus mainly worked on route 383 between Lakeside Shopping Centre and Chadwell St Mary though she almost certainly worked every route at Grays garage at some time or other - in fact I have seen photographic proof that she operated on routes 256, 346, 370, 377 & 378 as well as her more usual 352, 353 & 383. Unfortunately the relevant images were hard copies and accidentally found their way into a rubbish bin before I had a chance to scan them.
When I acquired it, J317XVX was the only former County Bus vehicle in preservation. It has since been joined by Dennis Dart P327HVX in 2015 and Leyland Olympian H105GEV in 2016 - all three vehicles were based at Grays garage!.
As purchased, 317 was in a bit of state with almost all of the seats and grab rails removed - the previous owner had been intending to turn the bus into a mobile IT training suite!! Although damaged, thankfully the previous owner had held on to most of the seats and grab rails so I had hoped I’d be able to put her back together again - sadly the seat covers were found to be damp damaged beyond repair and I wasn’t able to use the cut up seat frames. I was able to turn her back into a bus after I salvaged the seating from one of her sisters, J315XVX.
Talking of sisters, there’s more about them on this page.
For 317’s full history, click here.
J317XVX was sold for further preservation in October 2017 following a reduction of my fleet to a financially more manageable two vehicles.
The vehicle was put up sale by its new owner in September 2019 - I couldn’t resist the opportunity to be reacquainted with 317 and so a deal was agreed and it was thus returned to Essex during October 2019.