If nothing convinces you that transport is essential to the daily lives of Londoners, take a trip to Walford.
The fictional area of East London is the setting of the BBC One soap EastEnders. Inspired by Fassett Square in Hackney and shown on specially commissioned Tube maps for the soap in the place of Bromley-by-Bow, we can ascertain that if Walford were a real location it would likely be somewhere on the edge of the East End such as Bow or Bethnal Green, hence the name.
In the last decade, Walford residents have been subjected to bus crashes, Tube delays, unsolved murders at Tube stations, river boat disasters, speeding accidents, police corruption in transport-related investigations and chop shop car scandals. No matter what form of transport does it for you, EastEnders has served you well.
There’s just one hiccup though.
The chances of these ever happening in London’s actual East End are very, very slim or impossible. Here’s some of the soap’s best transport cock-ups from the past 10 years.
READ MORE:‘I’ve had half my skull removed’: Dad punched in the head at Waterloo station so hard his heart stopped beating
Is your weekly dose of drama from Albert Square simply not enough? Do you find yourself scrolling through the social media pages of cast members, trying to guess what might happen next? Are you as well acquainted with the ‘Enders as your are your own family?
If the answer to any of the above questions is a resounding yes, we have good news.
You can sign up for MyLondon’s EastEnder’s newsletter to get all the latest from Walford straight to your inbox twice a week – and it’s absolutely FREE!
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The imperfect crime
In a current storyline, we’re led to believe that Kush’s death is being treated as an accident. We also know that he only died because Gray pushed him into the path of an oncoming Tube train. Presumably the CCTV at the Tube station was not working or the files were unavailable, seeing as Gray hasn’t been discovered yet.
This is impossible. The Tube train which hit Kush is shown to be a 1995 stock Tube train which is used on the Northern line (even though Walford East is purportedly on the District and Hammersmith & City).
These trains can only run if CCTV is fully operational because they use a system which allows the driver to self-dispatch the train – if the CCTV is not working, the trains cannot stop there and the platforms are closed or the service is suspended.
The CCTV would have shown Gray push Kush and would have been visible in the station control room at the time. London Underground has over 3000 cameras and Transport for London (TfL) also has additional cameras at street level, many of which can even be viewed by members of the public.
Adding insult to injury (literally in the EastEnders world), for Gray to access the station, he would have tapped in an Oyster or contactless card. TfL would have been able to trace the card if it tapped in and did not tap out again or tapped out at the same station before travelling.
*That* bus crash
Ever heard of the 764 bus? No? Good, because it would have to be the most unsafe bus route ever to have taken to the capital’s roads.
In January 2017, several characters were injured when a double-decker bus struck an entire market full of people and stalls then a low bridge. The driver is shown to be having a medical emergency but still negotiates a sharp left turn and continues for around 100 metres.
Again, impossible. In London, each bus route has a service controller who monitors the service. If a bus driver has to divert, they tell the controller who advises them which way to go or what to do. They know where all the low bridges are in their areas to keep double deckers clear of them.
Almost every double decker bus in the UK has emergency door override buttons which can be pressed too operated via compressed air which allows passengers to escape. Very few people are injured in bus accidents – in June, there were 366 injuries and 1 death on London’s buses out of an estimated 106.6 million journeys.
TfL also has dedicated emergency vehicles specifically for bus accidents on standby 24/7. The chances of a crowd of people having to lift the bus to remove someone trapped underneath are slim, even if the Daily Express reports that it has happened before.
Finally, the 764 route wouldn’t really exist. School bus routes in London are numbered 600-699 or 800-899 and 700-799 is reserved for temporary, special or express routes. The bus shown has blinds which indicate it runs through Walford, Stratford and East Ham to Barking, which isn’t too far away from what bus route 238 does now.
Trouble on the Thames
This one is not impossible, but it is very unlikely. Since the Marchioness disaster in 1989 killed 51 people on the River Thames, safety has improved on the capital’s biggest waterway, with four extra lifeboat stations, better communication systems and changes to evacuation procedures.
It means that even serious incidents such as fires on amphibious Duck Tour buses and collisions have not ended up causing loss of life. The evacuation procedure shown in the February 2020 episodes would have been different to what was shown with responders able to react within minutes of the first emergency calls. All boat staff on public boats which travel along the tidal section of the Thames are trained in evacuations.
Nonetheless, you can’t fault EastEnders on the drama, the artwork and the realism which make it the successful soap we’ve all grown up with and learnt to love. We should probably love our capital’s transport system just as much if not more, for sure though!
We’ve created a Facebook group for people who travel on London’s bus, rail, Underground, Overground and DLR services.
We will keep you informed about the latest news that affects your daily commute to work, as well as at the weekend.
We’ll also let you know in advance if there are any roadworks, railworks or closures you should know about, or if there are any problems on the city’s tube network.
Join the group here.
Can you think of any other EastEnders transport bloopers? Let us know in the comments below!
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