Why are so many of Stockholm’s escalators broken?

Why are so many of Stockholm's escalators broken?
A worker pictured on the escalator at Stockholm City. Photo: Adam Wrafter/SvD/TT
In summer 2018, several people were hurt when an escalator in Stockholm suddenly changed direction. Now an investigation into the accident has been completed, and dozens of escalators have been ordered to be repaired.

The escalator at Stockholm City was full of people when it started going backwards. Fortunately no-one was seriously hurt, but SL, the company in charge of public transport in the capital, closed all the escalators at Stockholm City and Stockholm Odenplan while an investigation was carried out.

The stations were shut entirely for several weeks after the incident, and the escalators have only been repaired gradually. Over the autumn, some escalators have already been turned back on after being fitted with new parts and these have been tested daily, but several remain closed off.

Now the investigation, carried out by inspection company Dekra, has concluded that the construction of the escalators wasn't sufficiently robust to cope with heavy use. 

All of the affected escalators are now set to be repaired by the manufacturer, Otis.

This will include installing an endurance brake in 65 places, and fixing the connection between the gearbox and motor on 25 escalators. The work should be finished in May.

SL has apologized to customers for the delay in having all its escalators up and running again.

“What has taken most time is the manufacturing of the new parts, which then need to be checked, installed, inspected and the escalator must carry out test runs before it can be reopened,” Caroline Ottosson, head of traffic management, said in a statement.

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