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).

Trailers and Tankers

Throughout the years Riding’s ran a variety of trailers and tankers of all shapes and sizes.

Below is a selection showing some of the various makes and sizes of trailers and tankers that  W & J Riding operated in their fleet, dating from the 1920’s through to the 1990’s.

Pictured here in 1922, outside the premises of Atkinson Walker Wagons Ltd in Frenchwood Preston, is a brand new W & J Riding early design draw-bar trailer capable of four tons carrying capacity.

Unfortunately soon after it was built the company of Atkinson Walker Wagons Ltd suffered closure due mainly to the depression at that time.

Atkinson did restructure again a number of years later in 1933 but by this time Riding’s were completely dedicated Leyland users and it was not until 1963 that they transferred their alliance back to the Preston company.

In this photograph we see one of Riding’s original 26 foot Crane built trailing arm tandem axle trailers in a spot of bother on the quayside at Preston Docks. 

When the trailer was disembarking off the ferry, and the angle of the ships drop down ramp to the landing floor was beyond a certain angle, the suspension on the trailer could flick over as can be seen in this instance above.

Loaded with 16 tons of Plas Bins the only way to put it right was the removal of one set of wheels and then flick the suspension back over.

Another shot of one of Riding’s original 26 foot Crane built trailing arm tandem axle trailers in a spot of bother on the quayside at Preston Docks after the suspension on the trailer had flicked over when disembarking the ferry.

This Crane Fruehauf built 33 foot trailer tandem axle trailer was one of which of which Riding’s had dozens in the fleet in the 1960’s and early 1970’s

It is pictured here coupled up to Atkinson Mk I Silver Knight 4×2 tractor unit Reg No CTB 260E Fleet No 52 which was purchased direct from the nearby Atkinson factory at Walton le Dale on the 18th of March 1967 at a cost of £3,461,.

Tom Riding took this picture on Longridge Fell the day it was first taxed for road use on the 1st of April 1967. 

Atkinson Mk I Silver Knight 4×2 tractor unit Reg No MTC 690G Fleet No 46 is seen here while coupled to a Crane Fruehauf 33 foot tandem axle trailer with one of Riding’s de-mountable tankers on board.

Back in the day there were no twist locks on trailers so the tank was secured to the trailer with just ropes.

Four brand new Crane Fruehauf 1450 cubic foot tandem axle powder tankers introduced into the fleet in 1968.

This picture shows the sign writers skill in abundance.

All the detail you see was hand painted and was a credit to the dedicated craftsman the likes of which we rarely see applied to vehicles in this day and age.

A brand new Crane-Fruehauf 1450 cubic foot tandem axle non tipping powder tanker which entered service with the company in 1968.

In those days all of the detail you see on the tanker was hand painted, a far cry from the self adhesive graphics and wraps the transport industry use today.

A brand new 33 foot tandem axle Crane Fruehauf trailer is pictured here on the Atkinson stand at the Royal Lancashire Show in 1970.

Riding’s ran quite a number of these trailers used mainly on the Wilton to Kilroot Irish ferry service.

These particular trailers replaced the old ‘four in line’ trailers that had been used on the traffic before the gross vehicle weights were increased.

One of Riding’s tandem axle 1540 cubic foot Crane Fruehauf powder tankers which was used for the transportation of Corvic on behalf of ICI.

This tanker would later be fitted with complete new tri-axle running gear to operate at 38 Tons GVW.

The tractor unit is Seddon Atkinson 400 Series 4×2 tractor unit Reg No BCW 600R Fleet No 45 ‘Undaunted’ which was painted in an experimental livery that was not applied to many of Riding’s vehicles.

Powered by a Gardner 8LXB engine it had a  Wellworth WS9 compressor fitted in front of the rear axle which Riding’s installed due to being renown for running very quietly.

One of a pair of specially built forty foot trailers supplied by Wheelbase Engineering to move cylinders of Phosgene Gas manufactured at ICI Ltd Burn Naze.

The cylinders were held by strong screwed clamps to the main chassis section of the trailer.

In 1984/5 Riding’s introduced a number of these Crane Fruehauf built 40 foot curtain sider trailer’s into their fleet which were required on the busy Timax Bainbridge exhaust contract at Blackpool and Glasson Dock near Lancaster. 

On the 5th of April 1993 the Bainbridge Silencers name was dropped in favour of  ‘Timax Exhaust Systems’ with a redesigned corporate logo and livery in blue,red and white. 

At the time this picture was taken the trailer was coupled up to ‘fresh out of the paint shop’ Seddon Atkinson 401 Series 4×2 tractor unit Reg No KHW 979X Fleet No 104 ‘Iron Duke’.

Powered by a Cummins E290 engine it was originally registered new on the 1st of June 1982 and purchased second-hand when just two years old in 1984.

KHW 979X remained in service with Riding’s for four years until it was sold on to Translitre of Burton on Trent on the 15th of August 1988 for £2,600 plus vat.

A Carmichael 2000 cubic ft non tipping tri-axle powder tanker pictured while parked up Riding’s Thornaby depot on Teesside..

These were used for the movement of Nylon chip from ICI at Wilton to Pontypool with some later additions to the fleet painted up in ICI livery as can be seen in the picture below.

A pair of brand new Carmichael 2000 cubic ft non tipping tri-axle powder tanks photographed by the late Tom Riding while parked up at Thornaby depot on Teesside..

They are parked up awaiting the start of the movement of Nylon chip from Wilton to Pontypool.

Altogether eight of these brand new tankers, all in ICI livery, were bought for this contract in 1984 which was quite an investment by Riding’s at the time..

The late Tom Riding took this photograph showing four more out of a total of eight brand new Carmichael 2000 cubic foot non tipping tri-axle powder tankers, all in ICI livery, seen here while awaiting the start of the movement of Nylon chip in 1984 from Wilton on Teesside to Pontypool in South Wales. 

Pictured here in Riding’s depot at Thornaby in November 1985 is another of the eight ICI liveried Carmichael 2000 cubic foot non tipping tri-axle powder tankers that were new in 1984..

The Seddon Atkinson 401 4X2 tractor unit Reg No C300 HFV Fleet No 63 ‘Great Britain’ was registered new on the 1st of October 1985 at a cost of £26,496 plus vat.

It was originally fitted with a Gardner 6LYT  320 16 litre engine but unusually for some reason it was removed in February 1994 and replaced with a Cummins E290 big cam unit.

Based at Riding’s Thornaby Teesside depot it was driven by Jimmy Renton who can be seen in the picture on the left.

25th of June 1986 and the late Tom Riding is seen in the depot at Longridge keeping his finger in while at the wheel of one of the companies brand new unregistered ‘Seddon Atkinson 401’ tractor units which had just come out of the paint shop.
He is pictured maneuvering a tandem axle powder tanker just obtained from fellow TDG group member ‘Reliance of Manchester’ after they ceased powder tanker operations.
Shortly after the picture was taken the tanker was taken into to Riding’s workshops and converted into a tri-axle outfit and was repainted in W & J Riding’s familiar livery.
The tractor unit, costing £27,468 plus vat, was registered five weeks later on the 1st of August 1986 as D570 FSR Fleet No 27 ‘Valliant II’ (Chassis No 80806)


Liverpool Docks December 1986 showing several of Riding’s 40 foot trailers after unloading bags of adipic acid from the ICI plant at Wilton near Redcar.

The driver pictured at the rear of the trailer is the late Cumberland John who, at the time, was the regular driver of Seddon Atkinson 400 Series 4×2 tractor unit Reg No GAT 247T Fleet No 64 ‘Earl Marichal’.

Purchased second-hand by Riding’s on the 1st of July 1982 from Yardley Commercial Vehicles of Kidderminster at a cost of £9,250 plus vat it was originally registered new to fellow TDG group company Gilyot & Scott Ltd of Hull on the 1st of July 1979.

Reg No GAT 247T spent six years in the Riding fleet after which time it was sold to a Mr Riley of Settle for the sum on £3,000 plus vat on the 30th of June 1988

Photograph courtesy of Andrew Eastham.

This step frame skeletal trailer was one of pair built to order for Riding’s by Municipal Trailers of Bamber Bridge.

Originally when new in 1971 it came with a tandem axle but acquired it’s third axle in 1983 when legislation increased the gross vehicle weight to 38 tons.

1987 and this Edbro publicity shot was taken after they had designed and supplied a special long-stroke DD21 hydraulic ram for use on one of Riding’s 55..6 cubic meter capacity bulk tipping tankers which cost £31,660 plus VAT in July 1987.

Due to the exceptional length of the tank when tipped it reached a height of 11 metres so this necessitated the use of a special Edbro DD21 hoist which incorporated both a long stroke and double sliders for additional rigidity.     

Pictured here outside the long gone terephthalic acid plant at Wilton on Teesside in 1988 is  a tri-axle Carmichael bulk powder tanker trailer built by Carmichael of Worcester which weighted fractionally under 5 tons and was one of eight on the contract costing £27,576 plus vat from Carmichael Fire and Bulk Ltd (Tanker Division) Weir Lane, Bromwich Road, Worcester.
This gave Riding’s an incredible payload of 27 tons which was the main reason they got the job of moving terephthalic acid powder from ICI WIlton on Teesside to Eastman Kodak at Workington in Cumbria.

Seddon Atkinson Strato 4×2 tractor unit Reg No G388 JKY Fleet No 104 ‘Iron Duke’ is seen here discharging its load of plastic granules at the Sterling Mouldings plant in Stalybridge.

With plenty of management in attendance this was the first delivery of a new contract that Riding’s had with Bell Line and, as you can see, the brand new Van Hool bulk tank container had yet to be painted.

In 1992 forty foot curtain-sider trailer No 226 was taken off the road had it’s curtains removed and was converted into a Bainbridge Silencers Exhaust advertising float for the 1992 Preston Guild celebrations.

Seen here on the Preston inner ring road, opposite the Bainbridge offices, the trailer is being hauled by Seddon Atkinson Strato 4×2 tractor unit Reg No G892 HFR Fleet No 84 aptly named ‘Preston Guild’.

The following year on the 5th of April 1993 Bainbridge Silencers changed their name to ‘Timax Exhaust Systems’ with a redesigned corporate logo and livery in blue,red and white. 

The main stay of the tanker fleet were non tipping Crane Fruehauf tri-axle tankers which were put to a variety of uses.

This particular one is seen here discharging a load of sugar at the Duerr’s Jam factory on Prestage Street Old Trafford Manchester in 1994.

A brand new Metalair-Fiilliat tri-axle 25 ton payload cement tanker pictured in the depot at Longridge.

This was one of a number in the fleet which were used to transport cement from the nearby Castle Cement works at Clitheroe in Lancashire up to Coatbridge in Scotland.

Photograph Courtesy of Chris Richards.

Riding’s had quite a number of stepframe trailers in their fleet including this one which was rather unusual.

Tom Riding explains the reason why below…….

“Occasionally Timax, who had changed their name from Bainbridge on the 5th of April 1998, would have a problem collecting their own products from a site if the customer ceased trading or whatever.

Their was a requirement for us to be able to carry a fork lift truck on a normal taut-liner to enable the driver to load himself if the need arose.

R.J. and I Wells modified this particular step frame trailer in such a way that a section of chassis was carved away immediately behind the fifth wheel step, suitably strengthened and pull out ramps fitted.

This enabled a fork lift truck to climb on board and, providing the driver was suitably qualified, the system worked a treat.

Result, a highly satisfied customer”.

Photograph courtesy of Chris Richards.