Laborer’s Daughter Inaugurates Bengaluru railway escalator

10-year-old Begumma, daughter of Chandbi, who was working at the site, inaugurated the new escalator at the Bengaluru railway station; image courtesy of Twitter.

A 10-year-old inaugurated a new escalator at the Bengaluru railway station in India on November 9.

After prohibitory orders from the city, Bengaluru Member of Parliament P. Chikkamuni Mohan, who was originally set to cut the ribbon at the ceremony, was unable to attend initially. Mohan insisted the ribbon cutting carry on, so someone else was called in for the job.

The railway invited 32-year-old Chandbi, a laborer who worked on the site, and her 10-year-old daughter Begumma to inaugurate the new escalator.

Begumma cut the ceremonial ribbon and opened the escalator at platform number four.

Cash Crunch Idles Escalators

A sign directs people away from an escalator at UN headquarters in NYC. People instead must use stairs or an elevator; photo via IPS.

The United Nations in October turned to austerity measures, including the shutdown of the escalators in its NYC headquarters building, after some of its annual member-country contributions — including from the U.S. — became past-due, leaving the intergovernmental organization strapped for cash. According to the Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency, some of these measures have put a serious crimp in the U.N.’s mission, such as cutbacks on translation and interpretation services, travel and operating hours. Officials have acknowledged, however, that the escalator shutdowns are meant more as a symbolic gesture to draw attention to the missed payments, rather than a substantial money-saving move. Complaints by diplomats resulted in restoration of escalator service to floors used by envoys, but a moving staircase used mostly by U.N. staffers and journalists remains shut down. Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the U.N. spends about US$14,000 to operate the escalator, and repeated questions from reporters have led to the suggestion of using the recently installed Gandhi Solar Park — a US$1-million, 50-kW solar array that was a gift from the Government of India — to power the idled unit. “I’m barely a spokesman,” Dujarric said in response to the suggestion. “I don’t think I’m an electrical engineer, but I will see where that electricity goes.” A U.N. official said the austerity measures are only temporary, and that full services would be restored once cash-flow problems are resolved.

Type “S” Westinghouse Electric Stairway Template

EW Correspondent Dr. Lee Gray sent us the following post in relation to his interesting article “The Westinghouse Electric Stairway,” coming in our December issue of ELEVATOR WORLD as part of its Focus on Escalators and Moving Walks. He’s also busy this week covering the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat 10th World Conference in Chicago for us. . . . Editor

Today, most vertical transportation manufacturers and suppliers provide architects and engineers with an array of electronic tools and downloadable datasets that facilitate the integration of these systems into technical drawings. These various digital resources are also often clearly branded and designed to guide users to select a given company’s products. However, in the not-so-distant past, all architectural and engineering drawings were produced by hand.

The manual production of drawings often presented challenges when it came to the accurate representation of specialized equipment, such as escalators. One solution to this problem was the use of templates such as the one developed by Westinghouse for its Type “S” Electric Stairway. The template, at 1/4-in. scale, assumed a 12-ft distance between finished floor heights. The draftsman would simply locate the stairway’s starting and stopping points (labeled as “working points”), then trace the outline of the template to have an accurate idea of the stairway’s sectional space requirements. And, as the template was clearly branded as having been produced by the “Elevator Division of the Westinghouse Electric Corporation,” it was intended to guide the architect’s selection. A simple tool for a (slightly) simpler time.