Ergomatic Leyland Tractor Unit
Tom Riding goes into detail as to why the Ergomatic Cabbed Leyland 4x2 tractor unit did not reign very long in the W & J Riding fleet.......
"I remember very well collecting the first 600 engined tilt cab Ergomatic Cabbed Beaver to come out of the factory.
I picked it up at the experimental department where I think it had undergone some final checks and thought it looked stunning and it drove like a dream.
There were problems as always with new models, the plastic fan on the front of the crankshaft, the mirrors constantly mucked up with spray but they were overcome in due course.
It was essential that the radiator was always kept topped up with coolant because it was lower than the top of the engine and if the cylinder ran short of water you soon got into trouble.
The biggest problem of all was that you just couldn't get hold of enough of them.
The last one we got, in 1966, was a 10 foot wheelbase unit that had been built as part of a massive order from Esso and it was offered as a sweetener.
At the time we had a total of 30 on order and if they had all come at once we couldn't have coped but Leyland could not deliver so we cancelled the lot and went to Atkinson at nearby Walton le Dale instead.
All five of our tilt cabbed Leyland Beavers were sold on to Walter Southworth when we had finished with them.
However i am convinced that the two pedal Beaver of 1968 with the 690 engine could have and should have been a real success if the modern electronic controls had been available to control the pneuo cyclic gearbox.
Later the Leyland Buffalo with the fixed head 500 came along and, as everyone in the transport industry knows, disaster followed".
Reg No PTJ 300C Fleet No 4 was the very first Ergomatic Leyland Beaver to be introduced into the Riding fleet in 1965.
Tom Riding recalls....
"It was likened to 'driving a car but unfortunately at the time Leyland could not deliver the numbers ordered so the Ergo tractors were not long on the fleet before Atkinson took over in large numbers".
Ergomatic cabbed Leyland Beaver 4X2 tractor unit Reg No TTE 540D Fleet No 51 was registered new on the 1st of February 1966 at a cost of £3,129 6s 9d.
Powered by a 680 engine with 2 stick gearbox it was driven from new by the late Jimmy Holden who was another long time serving Riding's man.
Pictured here in the depot at Longridge, coupled to one of Riding's standard 33 foot Crane Fruehauf trailers, it was later sold on to Walter Southworth of Rufford on the 28th of February 1974 for £950 plus vat.
Walter Southworth eventually went on to buy all of Riding's old tilt cab Beavers.
Another shot of Ergomatic cabbed Leyland Beaver 4X2 tractor unit Reg No TTE 540D Fleet No 51 this time pictured on Preston Dock while coupled to one of Riding's standard 33 foot Crane Fruehauf tandem axle trailers.
After being in service with Riding's for eight years TTE 540D was sold on the 28th of February 1974 to Walter Southworth of Rufford for £950 plus vat.
Ergomatic cabbed Leyland Beaver 4x2 tractor unit Reg No TTC 900D Fleet No 48, driven from new by Bill Coolican, was another of the batch of Leyland's introduced into the evergrowing fleet in 1966.
It is pictured here ready for the off coupled to a well sheeted and roped loaded 33 foot Crane Fruehauf tandem axle trailer.
Another shot of Ergomatic cabbed Leyland Beaver tractor unit Reg No TTC 900D Fleet No 48.
Registered new in 1966, and driven from new by Bill Coolican, it is pictured here parked on the wash bay on a Saturday morning while coupled up to an empty 33 foot Crane Fruehauf tandem axle trailer.
In the days before the installation of the drive through wash at Longridge all the vehicles in the fleet were washed by hand using brushes, buckets and hosepipes.
Photograph courtesy of the late Roger Kenney.
This particular photograph was publicity shot, for what was at the time, the new ICI terylene tarpaulins which were light and durable.
Ergomatic cabbed Leyland Beaver tractor unit Reg No TTC 990D was given the honour to feature in the picture which clearly demonstrates the lightness of the tarpaulins.
Bill Coolican, the regular driver of TTC 880D, is stood on top of the load while Louis Gornall is on the ground.
Ergomatic cabbed Leyland Beaver 4x2 tractor unit Reg No TTC900D Fleet No 48 is pictured in the yard at Longridge parked next to Atkinson Mk I Silver Knight 4x2 tractor unit Reg No ETC 920B Fleet No 12.
Originally Leyland had been the preferred choice but they could not deliver in any decent numbers so Riding's went on to replace the entire fleet with locally built Atkinson tractor unit's from nearby Walton le Dale near Preston.
As with all the other tilt cabbed Leyland Beavers TTC 900D was later sold on to Walter Southworth of Rufford in 1974.
Photograph courtesy of the late Roger Kenney.
Seen here in 1968 is four year old Pamela Riding daughter of the late James Riding.
She is pictued standing in front of Atkinson Mk I Silver Knight 4x2 tractor unit Reg No BTB 420E Fleet No 57 and the last tilt cabbed Ergomatic Leyland Beaver to enter service with the company, Reg No YTD 360D Fleet No 58.
Due to Leyland being unable to supply these vehicles in any decent numbers the Ergo tractor units did not reign long before Atkinson became the main vehicle supplier to W & J Riding.