Q this sideWorcester Park 2008

The Q

AEC side-engined single-decker
Bus planned for operation: Q83
Q6, the first production Q dating from 1935, was one of the Country Area 4Q4s repainted red and sent to Kingston.  It is seen here on the 213 at North Cheam Queen Victoria.
Photo © Alan Cross
It seems impossible to believe that the design of the AEC Q - side-engine, full front and no radiator - is over 75 years old.  Yet the first prototype dates from 1932 and London Transport selected the Q as their standard single-decker in 1935.  100 were bought for the Country Area, 80 for Central and 50 Green Line coaches.
On QThe Country Buses, of sub-type 4Q4, featured a roof that sloped from front to back and a centre entrance.  The geometry of the side engine meant that the rear axle was right at the back and carried only single wheels rather than the normal double.  One can only imagine that these buses must have created quite a stir.  One of the routes on which they were used when new was the 418 to Kingston from Leatherhead Garage.  After the war, a number moved to the Central Area, in most but not all cases being repainted red.  We are delighted that Cobham's Q83 will be in service on 10 August.
Would the lady notice the difference two years later when she boards an RF instead of a Q?  5Q5 Q150 at Worcester Park on 16 Sep 50 has 'Norbiton' chalked on the front for use when travelling in the opposite direction with a blank blind - Kingston garage was on strike at the time. 
Photo © Alan Cross
Saturday Q
The red buses, the 5Q5s, were revolutionary in having the entrance (with no door) in front of the front wheels.  Visually attractive, with long side windows and the emergency door moved to the centre at the back (a format to become a standard Chiswick feature), they were introduced in 1936 to, amongst others, route 200 from Merton Garage.  In the end, only 53 of the batch were red, the others going to help out the Country Area.  Sadly, no 5Q5s survive.
The Green Line 6Q6s reverted to the centre door of the 4Q4, but without the sloping roof.  Like 4Q4s, some came to work in the Central Area after the war, in this case still in green to Muswell Hill for a few months before the arrival of the first red RFs for the 210.
The less pronounced slope to the 5Q5's roof and the tidier arrangement of side windows is shown in this 1948 picture of Q168.  A resident of Sidcup Garage, this is an example of the regular practice of Saturday loans for the 213's busiest day, with shopping at both Kingston and Sutton.
Photo © Alan Cross