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Posted at 7:02 AM ET, 12/31/2010

Metro to speed escalator overhaul

By Ann Scott Tyson

Metro will overhaul tyson.gifeight escalators over the next two months on an accelerated schedule -- four at Gallery Place-Chinatown Station and four at Union Station.

Metro said it will employ two shifts of workers in order to complete the work in eight weeks instead of 12, finishing by the end of February.

All parts of the escalators will be replaced, refurbished or removed -- including steps, handrails, safety devices and electrical units. When one escalator is being worked on, another will be taken out of service and used as steps, Metro said.

The escalators to be overhauled include four at the 7th Street entrance at Gallery Place Station and another four at both the Amtrak entrance and 1st Street mezzanine at Union

A recent independent report on Metro escalators and elevators found that Metro was not following its own maintenance standards for keeping the conveyances operating, and identified specific problems with escalator brakes, prompting Metro to inspect all escalators in the system and make immediate repairs.

Related stories:

The ups and downs of Metro

Metro brings in escalator consultant

Down on Metro's escalator problems

The climb to fix Metro's escalators

Metro riders fume over escalator problems

Escalators used by Metro have history of trouble

By Ann Scott Tyson  | December 31, 2010; 7:02 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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Is the escalator widget even working? I think it's been stuck for a few weeks now. By my count 100 out of 588 escalators are broken which would be roughly 17% not 11.4%. On top of that the thing has been telling me 25.7% have been broken yesterday for a while now.

Posted by: Razor04 | December 28, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

When the "up" escalator is broken from the platform level to the street level, why doesn't Metro switch the "down" escalator so it goes up instead? Don't they realize that walking up a long flight of stairs is more difficult than walking down?

Posted by: stuckman | December 28, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

No wonder WMATA is having issues. Did anyone notice the discrepancy in the amount of time needed to complete the work. One shift of workers takes 12 weeks and two shifts of workers take 8 weeks. Why not 6 weeks? Twice the workers, half the time.

Posted by: tomsch3 | December 29, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Of course, at the Union Station/Amtrak stop, converting the remaining escalator to be "used as steps" doesn't just mean foot traffic. It also means suitcases being dragged along. This is another L'Enfant Plaza disaster in the making. While options are few, Metro has some ways to lessen the chances of this. First, ensure that the elevators are working (also out of order there frequently) and maintained as such before starting the stair repair. And require that the Metro staff finally get off their butts, pay attention to the foot traffic and be directed to assertively direct people with larger luggage to use the elevator.

Posted by: LaLynnie | January 4, 2011 8:54 AM | Report abuse

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