Court Hears Lawsuit Over Failure to Hold Handrail

She didn’t want to hold the handrail, but a woman in Canada refuses to release her grip on a case that began with her arrest 10 years ago in a subway station in the Montreal suburb of Laval. And, though charges against her were eventually dismissed, she felt like police and the city should be punished for the way she was treated. This week, the Canadian Supreme Court agreed to hear her side, CTV News reports.

It was in 2009 when a police officer saw Bela Kosoian riding the escalator without holding the handrail, even though the escalator was marked with a pictogram instructing riders to do so. An argument ensued, and Kosoian was ultimately detained for about 30 minutes, during which time she was handed a CAD100 (US$75) ticket for failing to hold the rail, and a CAD320 (US$240) ticket for refusing to identify herself to the officer. Her case was heard in municipal court in 2012, and she was acquitted of the charges. For the way she was treated, she filed a lawsuit against the city, the transit corporation and the police officer. Her case was twice rejected in Quebec courts, but the nation’s highest court took it up, and heard arguments on Tuesday. During the proceedings, Justice Clement Gascon said, “I suppose if we were to give out tickets to people not holding the handrail, we’d be issuing hundreds per hour.” There was no immediate indication of when the court might rule.

KONE Launches Test of World’s First Tweeting Escalator

At an undisclosed location in London, a KONE escalator now is tweeting the details of its working day and conditions. “Escalators are the unsung heroes of cities. They move millions of people a day and, of course, they need to perform safely and smoothly,” said Max Alfthan, executive vice president, marketing and communications at KONE.

Social media is a powerful tool that serves many in different ways. It can empower the powerless; it can spread information at a “viral” pace; and, as everyone should know by now, affords public officials the opportunity to get their messages out directly to their constituents (for better or worse) without the filter of the professional news media. It in essence gives a voice to the voiceless. To that end, KONE has developed a social media presence for its vertical-transportation (VT) equipment. Specifically, The Dispatch-Argus reports, the VT giant has given one of its escalators a Twitter account, all part of its 24/7 Connected Services. The escalator — “At an undisclosed location in London,” the source notes — offers real-time updates of its performance through the handle @JustAnEscalator. A virtual reality and 360-degree video enhance the program. Are you wondering what an escalator has to tweet about? The recent screen grab at right gives a sample, plus, maybe, an idea of the technology’s potential. Like, say, alerting commuters when specific escalators are out of service or back in operation. That might be worth a tweet.

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.