Too bad CTA doesn't have 3,000 escalator mechanics like Moscow

A recent Washington Post story about escalators in the Moscow subway system reported that there are 643 escalators that a serviced by a staff of 3,000 mechanics. They leap into action anytime there’s a breakdown.

It took the CTA several months to repair and rehab nine escalators in the Red and Blue Line subways. That just wouldn’t cut it in Moscow.

In Moscow, there’s even a crew of escalator “watchers” who sit in glass booths to keep things moving.

I know we could use way more escalators on the CTA in Chicago. Check out this video of a long Moscow escalator. (Hat tip to Steven.)


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  • 5 men per escalator. Never happen in this country, the way management thinks: because if the escaltor works fine those 5 guys stand around with nothing to do. Can't have that !!! Preventative maintenance not allowed as it costs money that we don't have. Cut the Budget, get rid of the maintenance people. Let it break down to beyound repair, Hire a polictical connected contractor, use Capital Funds and take months to replace an escalator, the Chicago Way at work. And just think of All the money I saved CTA by elimating maintenace, I deserve a promotion.

  • The Moscow subway was always a palace. I don't know if the communist bureaucracy still runs it, but apparently it still works.

    The D.C. Metro was also a palace in its day. By comparison, the NY and Chicago subways were urine smelling messes. In Chicago, they put some panels and tiles on some of the station walls, but maintenance has never been that good.

    Of course, you can't get stuck on a subway, like you can on the out of service elevators. Having a white board (apparently changing to a TV screen) to announce them indicates that the priority is not fixing them.

  • In reply to jack:

    I meant you can't get stuck on a escalator. You certainly can and have gotten stuck on a subway.

  • In reply to jack:

    Granville's escalator is boarded off and under construction until APRIL?! Which means the narrow strip of platform between the stairs and the waiting area, dangerous in normal conditions, now has to serve two opposing lanes of pedestrian traffic. A disaster waiting to happen. All that has to happen is for one person to slip, or stop suddenly, and someone will end up on the tracks. I think I'll be using Loyola for several months instead.

  • In reply to scottknitter:

    When I saw that, I was kind of hoping that the project involves moving the escalator sideways a foot or two so the strip of platform people must walk on when leaving trains and heading to the stairs will be a little wider.

    I quit using the escalator in favor of the elevator anyway, because so many people with more energy than brains or manners just about knock over anyone standing still on the escalator, whenever they hear noise that could be a train arriving. Usually it's a train that's just left. And they could just as well run up the stairs if they're in the mood to run. Now at least they may have to get in the habit of doing that. And yeah, the elevator is slower, but the bottom line is, leave your house on time, folks, and you won't be so desperate to catch a departing train that you take risks or treat others rudely.

  • In reply to jack:

    Isn't the Moscow subway something like 500 feet underground? They need to keep those escalators running.

  • In reply to jack:

    I've long wondered if it would be faster & cheaper for the CTA to remove a worn out escalator, put temporary stairs in its place, then reassemble & rebuild it in their shop. When done, disassemble & rebuild it where it was.
    I know that much of the time is wasted going back & forth from the shop custom making replacement parts for escalators that are so old, the manufacturer no longer has the parts for it. Add into that, the cold weather & you have months on end to fix one.

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