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.

Escalator Safety

Escalator Safety_coverElevator World interviews Fartash Razmjoo (FR) and Anthony Andon (AA) about their recent publication.

EW: What is Escalator Safety about?

FR: As specified in the name of the book, we’ve concentrated on accidents and safety on escalators. We studied accidents around the world, tried to categorize their causes and explained the safety features that can prevent them. We also compared ASME A17.1/CSA B44 with EN 115, explaining code requirements from manufacture to installation, as well as usage.

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Norway’s Bike Escalator

Biking, especially in major cities, is becoming more popular as the days go by. It is a great and not to mention fun form of exercise, plus it’s easy on the environment. Biking does however, have its uphill battles. Literally. Imagine working all day only to have to climb what seems like an endless mountain just to get home. Well the city of Trondheim, Norway says “Not in our town.” The recently updated CYCLOCABLE (formerly Trampe) is an escalator… for bikes! Designed to carry up to six riders at a time, you simply place your foot on a plate and enjoy the ride up at 4 mi (6.4 km) per hour.

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As you probably know, Elevator World, Inc. is located in Mobile, AL, USA. This part of our beautiful state is not exactly known for hills. Actually it’s more known for its lack of hills. That being said, I discussed this with a couple of colleagues in the office who are avid bike riders and we all quickly agreed that this is not needed here in Mobile. That is not the case elsewhere in the U.S. and the world. I know San Fransisco, CA, could certainly benefit from a CYCLOCABLE and as one of my colleagues pointed out, so could Montreal, Canada.

The French company SKIRAIL is responsible for the most recent update to the escalator and says it is “optimistic that cities in the U.S., Europe, Canada, and Asia will contract them to build similar bicycle escalators.”

Could YOUR city benefit? Let us know why! Also be sure to check out the video below to see it in action.

Curious as to how it works? (You know we were!) Visit the CYCLOCABLE website to find out!

Thanks for reading,

– Caleb