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Escalator work bringing you down, but not up?

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Steve Phillips Steve Phillips | 13:15 UK time, Wednesday, 12 May 2010

This isn't really a quest of Middle Earth proportions, but there I was at Bank station at the beginning of March and the escalator down to the DLR from the Central line is closed, meaning a drag down to a congested Northern line platform, down the steps and into a one-way system to the DLR.

I could see the escalator I should have come down teasing me in the distance.

I paused.

"Hang on", I thought. "Wasn't this escalator closed last year for absolutely ages?"

bank_escalator_cropped.jpg

Turns out, that it wasn't (must have been the other one).These repairs at Bank (and at other Tube stations) have been going on for some time with many more months of disruption to come, and might be seen as a minor irritation. But does it badly disrupt your trip to work?

Tom Edwards of this blog parish emailed me on Monday saying the escalator at Bounds Green was broken, and that "people with disabilities and wheelchairs are being told to get the bus to Wood Green..."

Speaking to Transport for London recently, it became clear that work on escalators at Bank were necessary. They said:

"Without these works the stations would not be able to continue to operate and serve the growing number of customers. These escalators have previously been kept going through intensive repair works and a planned programme of maintenance, but we have reached the point where regular repairs and maintenance are not adequate and a long-term solution must be found."

TfL went on to say that prior to replacing the 15 escalators at Bank, they had worked to "extend the life" of some of them while the replacements were on their way.

Make no bones about it, replacing an escalator is a long, tricky job - mainly because the area engineers have to work in is very restrictive and every escalator is different. Fair enough.

But what about the ten-year-old Jubilee line extension? Surely escalators at Waterloo, London Bridge and Canary Wharf don't need replacing?

TfL again:

"Around 650,000 people use the Jubilee line every weekday and to ensure that escalators can carry this volume of passengers, planned maintenance needs to be carried out on escalators at stations from time to time.

"The spacious design of some of the newer stations on the Jubilee line extension means there are often other escalators which can be used by our customers. For example Canary Wharf Tube station has 20 escalators.

"Even though London Bridge and Waterloo are on the Jubilee line extension these stations are much older with some escalators dating from the 1970s. The refurbishment work on these escalators is part of a planned programme of maintenance."

So faithful traveller, are repairs to an escalator near you upsetting your journey? Or is it just a minor bother?

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