Wanted: photos of old wooden escalators

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

Wanted: photos of old wooden escalators

Postby RailMike » Tue Oct 26, 2004 11:20 am

I am looking for pictures of the old wooden escalators that the MBTA used to have. I believe that there were a total of five of these, the last of which was dismantled almost 10 years ago. The most interesting of these was at South Station, where two parallel escalators shared a common central handrail. For some reason it had the moniker "Escalator of Death". Other locations included Harvard Square and Downtown Crossing.

These escalators, as some may recall, did not have typical "steps", but actually consisted of a series of inclined wooden pallets. This was one of Otis's early designs, based on the original patent by a man named Reno. As the T had what were probably the last existing models in the world (one may still exist in Philly) the Smithsonian expressed an interest in one. But the money could not be found to preserve and transport the escalator, since Smithsonian only accepts donations. So consequently, the units were all but scrapped. :( True, a New England trolley museum (Seashore?) managed to salvage parts of one, though obviously not enough to operate. Are they on display in the museum? Or are they all stuffed in a can somewhere as I once read? I hail from the Washington, DC area, so travelling to Maine can be a bit of a haul.

BTW, let's go Sox!
RailMike
 
Posts: 83
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2004 12:56 pm
Location: Washington, DC

Postby Ron Newman » Tue Oct 26, 2004 12:15 pm

I remember the two at Downtown Crossing. They were on opposite platforms of the Red Line tracks. One went to Arch Street, the other to Chauncey Street. Both were up-only. They were the last ones in the system, I think.
Ron Newman
 
Posts: 2772
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2004 7:04 pm
Location: Davis Square, Somerville, MA

etc

Postby Noel Weaver » Tue Oct 26, 2004 9:47 pm

I remember one from the southbound platform directly to the street at
South Station back in the 1960's. I have no idea just when this one was
removed.
Noel Weaver
Noel Weaver
 
Posts: 9334
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 9:33 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Postby sery2831 » Tue Oct 26, 2004 10:07 pm

It is true that parts of the last one at downtown x-ing was saved. I am guessing some of the parts are being stored in a container at the seashore trolley museum. I know the several steps are stored outside though in an area that is off limits to the public.
User avatar
sery2831
 
Posts: 5127
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 2:15 pm
Location: Manchester, NH

Postby Robert Paniagua » Wed Oct 27, 2004 5:12 am

I remember those wooden escalatours at Downtown Crossing, I got to ride on one of those in 1987/88, when they last had them. But regrettably, they were uncomfortable when riding up, they were too slopy for me, so I'm kind glad they replaced them with the modern ones, but I certainly do recall those wooden escalatours.
~Robert Paniagua
Moderator: WMATA :: General Railroad Operations
User avatar
Robert Paniagua
 
Posts: 4418
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:11 am
Location: Weymouth, MA 02188

Postby jwhite07 » Wed Oct 27, 2004 6:37 am

I remember one from the southbound platform directly to the street at South Station back in the 1960's. I have no idea just when this one was removed.


It was removed during the general modernization and renovation of the subway station in the late 1980s. The escalator was still in service as late as 1987 or 1988, but I'm pretty sure it was gone by 1990. I lived in Maine at the time and rarely got down to Boston, so I can't be more specific about the dates.
User avatar
jwhite07
 
Posts: 1410
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:39 pm

Wanted: Photos of Old Wooden Escaltors

Postby eddiebear » Wed Oct 27, 2004 6:41 am

They are "cleat type" escalators. I think there were way more than 5 at one time.
eddiebear
 

Postby Ron Newman » Wed Oct 27, 2004 7:49 am

Did Aquarium (Atlantic) ever have these?
Ron Newman
 
Posts: 2772
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2004 7:04 pm
Location: Davis Square, Somerville, MA

Re: etc

Postby CSX Conductor » Wed Oct 27, 2004 9:23 am

Noel Weaver wrote:I remember one from the southbound platform directly to the street at
South Station back in the 1960's. I have no idea just when this one was
removed.
Noel Weaver


I remember riding that one in the earlu 80's. They were petty cool, although the used to scare the hell out me as a little kid. :P

I can't remember for sure, but for some reason I think that Forest Hills had this type.........anyone re-call?
User avatar
CSX Conductor
 
Posts: 5458
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 12:04 am
Location: Boston, Mass

Postby BC Eagle » Wed Oct 27, 2004 11:50 am

Does anyone have a definitive date for when these escalators were taken out of service at Downtown Crossing? I remember using them when I was a child, but I'd like to figure out how young I was.
BC Eagle
 

Postby Ron Newman » Wed Oct 27, 2004 12:16 pm

I don't know the answer, but I do remember that one of them was out of service for several years before they finally took it out and replaced it with a more modern variety.
Ron Newman
 
Posts: 2772
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2004 7:04 pm
Location: Davis Square, Somerville, MA

Old type escalators

Postby Leo Sullivan » Wed Oct 27, 2004 9:15 pm

I do have some pictures of the 'cleat' escalators, which is the type being discussed in this thread, including a video of a ride on the last one (southbound at Downtown crossing). There were many of them, I have a roster somewhere but haven't seen it for years. There was another old type called a step escalator,equally old but much preferred by the passengers. I'm moving but, should be able to look up the pictures in a few days. Escalators were never a big 'fan'' item but, the company took pictures of them from time to time. Almost all the pictures of escalators were taken by the BERY or later agencies.
Contact me by E-mail, maybe I can send some over the net,
Leo S.
Leo Sullivan
 
Posts: 407
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2004 12:45 pm
Location: Roxbury, MA

Postby RailBus63 » Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:43 pm

These escalators had a very distinctive sound - sort of like a drum beat, but with a wooden-type sound also. I remember them well.

JD
User avatar
RailBus63
 
Posts: 1871
Joined: Tue May 04, 2004 1:48 pm

Postby typesix » Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:42 pm

They did not break down as often as newer escalators.
typesix
 
Posts: 627
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 11:23 am
Location: Boston

Postby BC Eagle » Tue Nov 02, 2004 6:22 pm

RailBus63 wrote:These escalators had a very distinctive sound - sort of like a drum beat, but with a wooden-type sound also. I remember them well.

JD


Wow, now that you say that I can distinctly remember the noise that accompanied those escalators. From what I can tell, I was somewhere between the ages of 4 and 6 when they were decomissioned at Downtown Crossing, so I always think it's cool when childhood memories like that come back.
BC Eagle
 


Return to Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests