The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Nov 14, 2007

Escalating Issues

On a recent trip to Tooting for a spot of desi shopping, I noticed that one of the escalators at Tooting Broadway station has been closed for renovation. London Underground apologised fulsomely to its clientele for this inconvenience, and deemed it fit to edify us with some facts about its escalators:

1. The first escalator on the network was installed at Earl's Court station in 1911.
2. A one-legged fellow named Bumper Harris was paid fourpence a day to ride the escalator up and down to demonstrate its safety to the lumpen, petrified, overawed masses.
3. The longest escalator on the network is one at Angel, descending vertically 27.5 metres. I've read somewhere else that this is the longest escalator in Western Europe but can't find any verification of this.
4. During the lifespan of a typical escalator, 580 million people will have been carried (some, I hope, more than once).

There's a Museum of London Transport in Covent Garden, which I hear is very kid-friendly, where these and other facts can be learned, seen and touched. I haven't been, lazily putting it off for the past five years. Maybe I'll take the nephews the next time they are around. The boy might enjoy it as well.


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