AEC side-engined single-decker
Bus planned for
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
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.
The 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
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,
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.