Thursday, 28 September 2017

On the Topic of Escalators

As a kid from the rural landscape of Alabama, I always had this fascination with escalators.  I was probably 12 or 13 years old when I 'rode' my first one.  In the period of 1978/1979 while in Frankfurt, I rode dozens.

For me, this was a mechanical curiosity.  You'd stand and admire the weight on one escalator and what amount of power it took to lift sixteen people to some second floor.  Then you'd admire the dependability and the fact that they rarely broke down.  You'd also reach a point where you wondered about the safety involved and the dangers.

While living in the DC area around 2010 to 2013....we had the episode where the escalator 'broke' and went into maximum turbo on the way down....literally throwing folks off down at the bottom. The escalator mechanics swore up and down....this was supposed to be impossible to occur.

For a long while, the longest escalator that I'd ever ridden was in a subway station in Munich....taking roughly 90 seconds to reach the ground surface.  Then I came to DC and rode the Wheaton Station escalator....which takes roughly two minutes to ride to the top (around 250 feet).  You can figure that that escalator was hauling a minimum of a 150 people in a rush-hour period, so there's a ton of 'power' to make this deliver.

I sat today and was reading up on the North Korean Pyongyang Metro system, and they have a single escalator there...where it can take almost four minutes to ride from the bottom to the top.  Figuring the load there?  Potentially, you might be talking about 500 Koreans riding on it in a rush-hour 'minute'.

If I were eighteen today?  I hate to admit it but out of the ten-thousand odd professions that I'd probably like to get into...would be the escalator technician work.  It's kinda like'd be guaranteed work for the rest of your life.

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