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Thank You!

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.

The site now contains over 2500 images, complete with in depth details, all of which are accessible via the main menu & side menu (marked with the mobile menu icon of 3 lines on a mobile & tablet).

Bell Line Container Movement Teesside

One of Ridings many contracts was the movement of loaded 34 ton Bell Line containers between ICI’s Terephthalic Acid plant at Wilton and the Bell container terminal at Tees Dock, a distance of only around three miles.

This movement was outside of the normal C and U regulations and was classed as ‘special types’ which enabled Riding’s to design their own specialised outfit for the job.

Two special trailers, which grossed at 65 tons, were built by Wheelbase Engineering of Blackburn and were equipped with a rear steering axle.

Also required was a ballast tractor and a tandem axle dolly which was used under a normal 30 foot skelly trailer.

Seddon Atkinson Strato 4×2 tractor unit Reg No J140 KFR given Fleet No 72 and named ‘Hannibal’ was the first to enter service having being purchased second hand in October 1994 from RJ Wells of Great Eccleston for the sum of £25,500 plus vat.

The second one was Seddon Atkinson Strato 4×2 tractor unit Reg No J94 GCX given Fleet No 76 and named ‘Goliath’ which was purchased second hand in May 1995 from D.G. Taylor Commercial Vehicles costing £27,500 plus vat bought to replace J140 KFR which was written off in an accident. 

Both were converted from tractor units into ballast tractors, painted in Bell Line purple livery and when coupled up to their trailer the overall length was around 60 feet and with seven axles and twenty six wheels little wonder the drivers nicknamed them ‘The Beast’.

After being converted from a standard 4×2 tractor unit and fitted with a ballast box and draw bar coupling Seddon Atkinson Strato 4×2 ballast tractor Reg No J140 KFR Fleet No 72 ‘Hannibal’ is seen here newly painted and coupled to it’s tandem axle dolly in Longridge depot just before entering service at Teesside Docks in November 1994,.

Seddon Atkinson Strato 4×2 ballast tractor Reg No J140 KFR Fleet No 72 is pictured here in December 1994 about to leave the ICI Terephthalic Acid plant at Wilton with a loaded container destined for the terminal at nearby Tees Docks.

Seddon Atkinson Strato 4×2 ballast tractor Reg No J140 KFR Fleet No 72 ‘Hannibal’ arrives at Bell Lines container terminal at Tees Dock in 1994

The trailers for the job, which grossed at 65 tons, were built by Wheelbase Engineering of Blackburn and were equipped with a rear steering axle.

Seen here in 1994 Seddon Atkinson Strato 4×2 ballast tractor Reg No J140 KFR Fleet No 72 ‘Hannibal’ moves into position in preparation for the container to be lifted off.

Loaded with 34 tons of Terephthalic Acid the container is lifted off at the Bell Line container terminal on Tees Dock.

In 1995 Seddon Atkinson Strato Reg No J140 KFR Fleet No 72 was involved in an accident on the ICI Wilton site when, while traveling solo, it was in collision with a fire engine on an emergency call at the traffic lights on Queens Avenue East.

This resulted in the vehicle being totally written off due to a twisted chassis.    

Another view of the accident that occured in 1995 at the traffic lights at junction of Queens Avenue East and Middleway.

Fortunately J140 KFR was traveling solo at the time otherwise the consequences could have been far worse.   

Another shot of the accident showing the serious damage that J140 KFR sustained during the collision with the fire engine at the junction of Queens Avenue East and Middleway. 

After being written off it was replaced in June 1995 by Seddon Atkinson Strato ballast tractor Reg No J94 GCX Fleet No 76 ‘Goliath’ which in turn was later replaced by ERF EC12 Reg No L380 MEO pictured below.

Seen here in August 2012, now in TDG livery, ERF EC12 Reg No L380 MEO was originally 4×2 tractor unit Fleet No 26 ‘Sanspareil’ in the W & J Riding fleet.

Powered by a Perkins TX 335 engine Reg No L380 MEO is seen here in it’s original form.  

Purchased new by Riding’s in December 1993, at a cost of £37.295 plus vat, L380 MEO was originally assigned to hauling a 2000 cubic foot Carmichael tank on the Wilton – Pontypool movement of Nylon chip.

After many years use a tractor unit it was fitted with a ballast box that had originally been used on one of the old Strato’s that had been scrapped.

Photograph courtesy of Colin Maidens

 (Teesside fleet engineer)

Another shot of ERF EC12 ballast tractor Reg No L380 MEO

At the ripe old age of 21 years old this Sandbach built ERF was finally withdrawn in 2014. 

Photograph courtesy of Colin Maidens

 (Teesside fleet engineer)