'The Best In The Long Run'
The haulage company of W & J Riding Ltd originated in Longridge near Preston Lancashire in 1922 when Mr William Riding and his eldest son Jim Riding, who were farmers, started to supplement their income by using horse and carts to move coal and cattle food from the local railway station.
Deciding that the future was in using motor vehicles they built a large garage on part of their farmland and named it Daniel Platt Garage, after the adjacent family owned Daniel Platt Farm.
Jim bought a second hand Karrier six tonner which allowed them to do much longer journeys but, unfortunately, the lorry was very unreliable and frequently broke down.
However they soldiered on until 1929 when the Karrier was eventually traded in for a brand new Leyland QH4.
This Leyland QH4 was a great success and from this time on Leyland lorries would be used almost exclusively by W & J Riding until 1963.
On the 1st July 1948 the company was nationalised and became Unit C132, part of British Road Services Burnley group, with Jim Riding staying on as depot manager.
Three years later, in March 1951, Jim Riding bought a company called Queensgate Motors from his brother-in-law Walter Carefoot.
Queensgate Motors consisted of two Bedford tippers and when de-nationalisation began in 1954 a number of ex BRS vehicles with their valuable 'S' licences were also purchased and added to the Queensgate business.
From here on in the company grew and grew and acquired substantial amounts of work especially from the ICI plants at both Teesside and Lancashire.
On November the 5th 1954 Jim Riding bought back his original depot along with the vehicles from BRS Ltd and retained the original 'W & J Riding' name, even though his father William took no part in the purchase.
Jim Riding's eldest son James had already joined him two years earlier in 1952 after leaving university.
In 1956 after an engineering apprenticeship at Leyland Motors his other son Tom also joined the company.
From this time on the rest is history with W & J Riding evolving into one of the most famous haulage firms in the country, at its peak operating well over 100 vehicles throughout the UK.
A number of years later, in 1968, a wholly owned subsidiary company called W & J Riding Bulk Haulage Ltd was created and the company moved into the bulk powder business which became a major part of the haulage work that Riding's undertook.
Come 1970 and the succesful family owned company of W & J Riding was sold to the Transport Development Group Ltd (TDG) with Tom Riding becoming managing director.
In 1975 Tom Riding decided that all their vehicles would be individually named, many after steam locomotives, which was a nice touch, and in later years their trade mark logo 'The Best In The Long Run' was applied to the front grill of many of the vehicles in the 100+ strong fleet.
Unusually for the Transport Development Group they agreed to retain the familiar W & J Riding blue and grey livery until the retirement of Tom Riding some twenty years later in October 1995 after which time, literally within a period of months, all tractor units in the fleet were rebranded into the bland Transport Development Group Ltd scarab green or blue livery.
TDG Ltd continued to operate from the same depot at Longridge, where W & J Riding had started all those years ago, until they finally moved out in December 2010.
Three months later, in March 2011, TDG were themselves bought out by Norbert Dentressangle whom in turn were bought out for £2.3bn by US logistics company XPO Logistics in June 2015.
A special thank you to Tom Riding, managing director of W & J Riding for 25 years, without who's invaluable help this website would not have been possible.
Tom has been kind enough to supply a vast amount of detailed historical information along with many of the superb rare photographs featured on this site which now contains over 1000 images.
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