Please Do Not Fall Down Sydney’s Big New Escalator

Please Do Not Fall Down Sydney’s Big New Escalator

Sometimes the states of Australia compete over good things, like having the most liveable city in the world, or having the best public schools or something. Sometimes we compete over sports, like who can make the soccer fans the angriest, or which state (other than Victoria) will remember that the AFL is on. But right now, we’re competing over something else.

Chris Minns, the premier of New South Wales, proudly announced on January 16 that Sydney’s Central Station now has the longest escalator in the Southern Hemisphere.

As a Victorian who used to have to take the 30m escalator at Parliament Station all the time, I just have one question: why? The escalator at Parliament Station is famously awful. You get disoriented, you lose your balance, and it’s generally a sucky way to travel. The Parliament Station escalator is Australia’s most dangerous, mostly because of people falling backwards.

In 2022, Perth’s Airport Central Station took the crown for the longest escalator in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s 35m long, and much more open and less weird and tunnelly than the Parliament Station escalator. Unfortunately, because no one ever talks about Perth, we have no way of knowing if it’s also dangerous.

That danger element is why Chris Minns was so excited and proud to say that the new 45m long escalator has patterns on the “glass-reinforced concrete walls to prevent commuters from getting vertigo while travelling up and down.” This is likely where the designers of Parliament Station went wrong, and although it’s fixable, Victoria has chosen chaos.

The 45m escalator weighs more than 26 tonnes and takes passengers 27m underground. It’s part of the $944 million upgrade of Central Station.

For people wondering what happens when it breaks down – and it will – it’ll just become really long stairs with no landing or place to rest. But it is really long.

Not to be outdone, Melbourne is now planning on building an even longer escalator in Docklands. The 47m escalator will be built in 2026, according to plans approved by the council, and it will supposedly be a huge drawcard because of the views across Docklands, much like the decommissioned Melbourne Star observation wheel.

Fun fact: the tallest metro escalator in the world is in Russia, and it’s 68.6m tall/ 131.6m long.

Anyway, good luck Sydney. I hope you stretch first and bring snacks. Enjoy this Simpsons clip for no reason:

Lead Image Credit: X/Chris Minns


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