W & J Riding used Leyland vehicles of all types almost exclusively for the first 30 years of its existence from postwar through the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's.
Tom Riding recalls below.......
"In my opinion the 600 and 680 engines were supreme while the Leyland Beaver and Leyland Octopus were rugged machines built for hard work and endless pain.
The spares and service back up provided by Leyland at that time was also second to none, so all in all it was a winning formula for our company for many years".
1955 and with denationalisation well and truly behind them the good times had now really started to roll at W & J Riding.
These two superb 1955 registered Leyland Octopus Reg No's WTF 574 and XTB 198 were purchased brand new and ran for 10 years after which time they were then brought into the workshops for a complete rebuild.
Reconditioned engines were fitted as were new cabs and new 25' bodies, this time aluminium with wooden floors.
The original 900/24 wheels and tyres were replaced with 1000/20 Michelin 'X' tyres and 20' wheels.
Leyland Octopus Reg No XTB 198, registered new in 1955, is pictured here once again in 1966 after its rebuild.
All of W & J Riding's eight wheeler's were fitted with brakes on every wheel, something that Leyland Motors never did on the production line.
This prolonged the brake lining life and gave the vehicle an enhanced brake performance along with increased driver confidence.
Leyland Octopus Reg No XTB 198 Fleet No 25, registered new in 1955, is pictured here on a Saturday morning on the wash bay in the depot at Longridge in 1966.
These were the days before automatic drive through's and electric power washers when all the vehicles in the fleet were painstakingly washed by hand.
Photograph courtesy of the late Roger Kenney.
The first of many Leyland Comets arrived in 1955. Reg No VTF 658 was new in May 1955 while Reg No WTB 881 was new the following July.
Tom Riding continues below....
"WTB 881 was first driven by Bert Slater who eventually was made up to be one of the yard foremen.
Three years later he was given another new Leyland Comet, Reg No 750 FTD, which was later sold on to Charles Holt of Rochdale when we had finished with it.
WTB 881 always sounded different from the other Comets and was a great favourite of mine".
Leyland Octopus Reg No WTF 574, new in 1955, is seen here shortly before being rebuilt getting its feet well and truly soaked in the over flowing River Wharfe on the A659 near Otley West Yorkshire.
Tom Lambert was the driver on this occasion but the deep water doesn't seem to bothering him or the wading Leyland Octopus.
One of Tom Riding's all time favourite photographs shows Leyland Octopus Reg No WTF 574 after emerging from it's rebuild in 1966 complete with a full set of wheel trims and chrome bumper.
Tom continues below....
"The exclusive Woodward's side-rave on the body puts the finishing touch to the whole lorry.
Driver Norman Holland has made a superb job of loading the conveyor belts and has protected the side-raves from scuffing from the chains with pieces of belting.
He looks quite proud and so he should be".
Leyland Comet four wheeler model ECOs2/4R Chassis no 564513 Reg No YTC 320 was registered new in March 1956.
Driven by Jess Yeulett, who stayed with Riding's until his retirement, it is pictured here on Preston Dock after having just loaded up with a Lancashire flat.
With no twist locks in those days Jess can be seen roping it down.
Tom Riding recalls below....
This was the third Leyland Comet that we bought out of a total of fourteen that were acquired over the following three years.
These were good fast machines but in those early days suffered from constant overloading.
Photograph courtesy of the late Ron Hall of Leyland Motors.
A superb period shot of Leyland Comet four wheeler Reg No YTC 320 which was registered new to W & J Riding in March 1956.
Driven by Jess Yeulett it is pictured here during the backbreaking manual loading of timber on Preston Dock.
In the background is the now long gone Preston power station along with the overhead gantry spanning the River Ribble which carried the coal from the dock side to the furnaces.
Photograph courtesy of BCVM Leyland.
This stunning colour photograph shows on the right Leyland Comet Reg No 60 DTE Fleet No 40.
Registered new in October 1957, and driven from new by the late Tommy Bagot, it is seen here in the yard at Longridge.
Note all the sheets and ropes on the cab roof prior to loading up later in the yard with drums of triclorethylene.
On the left is 1948 registered four wheeler Leyland Beaver Reg No NVT 460 Fleet No 18 which was purchased, along with it's 'S' licenses, in 1954 when six years old from Preston British Road Services at Water Lane.
Riding's ran this vehicle for eight years as a draw-bar trailer outfit until 1962 when it was taken into Riding's own workshops and cut down and transformed into a 4X2 tractor unit.
Photograph courtesy of Tim Forrest.
Leyland Comet ECOS2/4R four wheeler Reg No 921 DTJ Fleet No 41 was powered by a Leyland 350 engine in line with a 5 speed gearbox and Eaton 2 speed axle.
Registered in January 1958 it was driven from new by the late Harold Swanson who later went on to form his own company with his brother Jack.
It is seen here in Glasgow 58 years ago loaded with asbestos pipes from the Turners Asbestos factory at Dalmuir for onward delivery to a location in the Northwest of England.
At that time Riding's were using a Mr David Vetters on a commission basis to load all their vehicles for the South which he did very successfully for quite a few years until Riding's opened a depot in Wishaw after which time they worked directly for the British Steel Corporation at Motherwell.
Leyland Comet four wheeler Reg No 900 FTD Fleet No 44 was registered new in 1958.
This was the last Leyland Comet of this type to be delivered and was driven from new by David Cronshaw a driver from Accrington.
Tom Riding continues....
"We fitted them all with trailer towing equipment and vacuum brake connections from new and at that time regularly sent them to Hillhouse works with a trailer to bring back 20 tons of trichloroethylene in drums which was then transhipped onto various other vehicles at our depot in Longridge.
In my time i only ever knew of one major Leyland engine failure and that occurred in Reg No DTB 914 which was going down the hill outside the Cross Keys Hotel at West Marten.
The driver seriously over revved the engine and the cam followers broke and pushed out the side of the crankcase.
Leyland had by this time modified the cam followers so they just gave us an engine under warranty.
Leyland Motors at this time were a first class firm".
A nice line up of five W & J Riding Leyland's seen here parked in the yard at Longridge in 1960.
Nearest the camera is Leyland Comet Reg No WTB 881 then Leyland Comet Reg No 900 FTD Fleet No 44 then Leyland Comet 750 FTD Fleet No 43 unfortunately the other two are unidentifiable.
Photograph courtesy of Tim Forrest.
Leyland Steer Reg No 880 FTF was a new addition to the fleet in June 1958.
Seen here parked in the yard at Longridge it is waiting to head back to Accrington were it was out-based along with Leyland Steer Reg No 868 LTJ, seen in the previous picture.
880 FTF would be later chopped down and converted into a Leyland Beaver 4x2 tractor unit.
Leyland Steer 16S/3 Reg No 868 LTJ, registered new in November 1959, was one of four Leyland Steers in the fleet at that time.
Tom Riding recalls below....
"It was all to do with the 'A' licence and trying to increase the carrying capacity of our fleet.
This machine along with Reg No 880 FTF were out-based in Accrington and were used on the Darlington changeover, with Albert Brown and Ken Wade the two drivers.
The picture above shows the Steer deputising for an Octopus and is massively overloaded but fortunately it doesn't show".
Registered new in 1959 Leyland Octopus Reg No 980 HTE Fleet No 49 was the first in the fleet fitted with a Leyland 680 engine.
Driven from new by Joe Masterson Snr it spent most of it's life on the Darlington change over.
Also Tom Riding recalls that this was the first vehicle in the fleet that would go up Sawley Brow, on the old A59, fully loaded with a gear to spare.
In this photograph we see Leyland Octopus Reg No 980 HTE Fleet No 49 in later life.
By this time it had been taken off night trunking due to the run requiring a larger articulated vehicle.
Allocated to general haulage work on days it is pictured here while coming into the centre of Thirsk in North Yorkshire to park up for the night.
When Leyland Was King!
This impressive yard shot, taken in the late 1950's, shows a few of the many Leyland built rigids and draw bar outfits that Riding's ran in those days.
But Leyland domination would be all about to change as within a few years of this picture being taken Riding's fleet would become dominated by Atkinson articulated vehicles as the late Jim Riding, who for years had been dead against articulation, finally relented and the rest is history.