'The Best In The Long Run'
Preston Teesside Wishaw
The haulage company of W & J Riding Ltd originated in Longridge near Preston Lancashire in 1922 when local farmers Mr William Riding and his eldest son Jim Riding 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.
The Leyland QH4 four wheeler 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 of 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 in 1954 when de-nationalisation began a number of ex BRS vehicles with their valuable 'A' licences were also purchased and thus added to the Queensgate Motors business.
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 it's peak operating well over 100 vehicles throughout the UK.
They opened a depot in Scotland and one on Teesside and acquired substantial amounts of contract work especially from the ICI plants at both Teesside and locally in Lancashire along with transporting vast amounts of steel plate from the British Steel Corporation plant at Ravenscraig in Scotland.
In 1963 the haulage company William Metcalfe of Darlington was acquired with seven 'A' licences while also from September that year all brand new vehicles introduced into the fleet would be allocated registration plates ending in a zero for example this Atkinson Mk 2 Silver Knight, Reg No BTF 140J, pictured here on the A59 near Skipton.
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 August 1971 and the hugely successful family owned company of W & J Riding along with it's subsidiary companies was acquired by the Transport Development Group Ltd (TDG) with managing director Tom Riding becoming chief executive and his father James Riding continuing as director.
For the following 24 years Tom had total control over all aspects of the operation including finances, wage negotiations, vehicle purchases, new contracts etc etc with Tom also stipulating that the original W & J Riding livery should be retained not only on all the existing vehicles in the present fleet but also applied to any future new vehicles that would join the fleet during his tenure.
In 1975 Tom decided that all vehicles in the fleet would be given individual names many of which were named after steam locomotives, which was a nice touch, and in later years Riding's trade mark logo 'The Best In The Long Run' was applied to the front grill of many of the companies vehicles in the 100+ strong fleet.
As mentioned previously back in 1970 Transport Development Group had agreed to retain the familiar W & J Riding blue and grey livery until the retirement of Tom Riding some twenty five years later in October 1995 after which time, and literally within a period of months, all the tractor units in the fleet were re-branded into the bland Transport Development Group Ltd scarab green or blue livery.
After the retirement of Tom Riding in 1995 TDG Ltd continued to operate from the same depot at Longridge, where W & J Riding had originated all those years ago, until the transport department 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 the late Thomas William Riding, former managing director and chief executive of W & J Riding for 25 years, to whom this website is dedicated.
Over the years Tom was kind enough to supply a vast amount of detailed historical information along with many of the superb rare photographs featured and without his invaluable help and dedication this website would not have been possible.
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