Stockholm subway escalator stoppage "damned nuisance"

6:11 min

Escalators at nearly a dozen subway stations in Stockholm, have been down for more than two weeks now, leaving many passengers forced to trudge their way up the stopped escalators to exit the stations.

It all started on Valentine's Day, when a woman was taking the escalator at Östermalmstorg, and the step beneath her broke. Her foot got stuck in the machinery, and it took more than an hour to get her out. The accident was so bad that there was talk about whether or not she'd be able to keep her leg.

After the accident, SL, the organization that runs Stockholm's public transit, took a dramatic precaution and shut down all the escalators of the type the woman got stuck in, because they couldn't guarantee the safety of them.

In all a total of thirty-nine escalators at 11 stations are down until SL can make them safer. At Östermalmstorg, one exit requires passengers to climb some 160 escalator steps, or more. And at some stations, none of the escalators are working at all. 

At this point, SL still doesn't know how long it will take to get the escalators back up and running. It could take weeks or months even. Right now, they're still investigating what caused the accident and figuring out how they can prevent it from happening again. They may have to replace the escalators entirely.

The fact that the escalators are down can lead to congestion on the platforms during rush hour. So, SL is urging commuters to take a different way to work if they can.

SL also says that if someone is not fit enough to climb the escalators, they should use the elevator instead. However, long lines for the elevators can put people off.

What's more, some people might not realize that the steps are too much for them until they try. The other day at T-Centralen, our reporter spotted an elderly man stop, just steps before he reached the top of the escalator, looking very uncertain about whether he was going to make it all the way.

However, Lovisa Åbom, a spokesperson from SL told Radio Sweden she hadn't heard of any injuries due to the fact the escaltors are shut down.

Note: If it's simply impossible for you to make it up at a particular station, SL's travel guarantee allows you to travel to the next station where you can get up, and then take a cab to the station you wanted to get off at.