Wooden Escalators Get New Life as Spectacular Sculpture

“Interloop” greets passengers as they arrive and depart the Wynyard rail station in Sydney; photo courtesy of TfNSW.

When Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) set about to replace the four 80-year-old wooden escalators at Sydney’s Wynyard rail station, there was concern in the community about what would become of these pieces of vertical-transportation history.

Another view of “Interloop”; photo courtesy of TfNSW

After all, there were only seven known examples of operational wooden escalators in the world. TfNSW had a preservation plan, however, and recently unveiled it to the world: A spectacular piece of sculpture suspended from the ceiling of the station’s lower level. Global Rail News said artist Chris Fox used 244 step treads and four comb plates to create “Interloop,” a curving, intertwined piece that pays homage to Australia’s transportation history. TfNSW transport coordinator Marg Prendergast was quoted, “While the new modern escalators at Wynyard Station are safer, more reliable and reduce the cost of maintenance, it was important to recognize the heritage status of Railway House and the York Street lobby, as well as the iconic wooden escalators which were among the last of their kind in the world.”

Click here to watch a time-lapse video of the sculpture being installed.

Aestheticizing the NYC Subway

While on her business trip to New York City (NYC), EW Associate Editor Kaija Wilkinson captured a pair of escalators overlooked by a portrait by Chuck Close of a young Philip Glass, composer of reams of music and founder of the Philip Glass Ensemble. This is one of the art installations along the new Second Avenue Subway Line she saw today during an in-depth (literally) tour of its escalator system given by KONE Installation Expert Gerry Matawa with help from the MTA. This one is at the 86th Street Station.

Hollywood Elevators Versus Real Life

Mashable recently examined a few elevator movie scenes in an interview with John Holzer, an elevator technician who’s quite knowledgeable and up to date on his industry knowledge. It seems to me he’s been reading a lot of ELEVATOR WORLD! He’s also a good ambassador for the industry, accurately calling it “number one with safety — safety, safety safety.”