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Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Sydney / New South Wales Transport Discussion

Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Postby jpp42 » Tue May 15, 2012 8:03 pm

I was in Wynyard today and heard an announcement about an upcoming closure of the York St. escalators for "redevelopment." Does anyone know anything about this project? Will they retain the historic wooden steps? These escalators (along with 2 in Town Hall Station) are some of the only remaining wooden-stepped escalators in the world, having been installed in 1932 (except for the fourth one which was added in 1952). The first three aren't even original to Wynyard, having moved from the original Milson's Point Station (in the vicinity of Luna Park, the original southern terminus of the North Shore Line before the Harbour Bridge was opened).

I see that the wooden steps are listed in the heritage "statement of significance" here: http://www.heritage.nsw.gov.au/07_subna ... id=4803268 . But not sure what protection that actually gives them. I can understand that the underlying mechanisms being 80+ years old are likely difficult to maintain today. This is compounded by today's maintenance practices in an era when the railways have less capability to fabricate their own parts, instead relying on outsourced maintenance companies.

Still it would be a shame to see major changes to these escalators. Would love to know more about the project.
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Re: Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Postby Ben_Daui » Tue May 15, 2012 8:32 pm

I hope these will be retained, I liked the wooden escalators that were in Grace Bros before it got redeveloped as these had that unique sound compared to modern escalators.
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Re: Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Postby swtt » Tue May 15, 2012 9:02 pm

jpp42 wrote:I was in Wynyard today and heard an announcement about an upcoming closure of the York St. escalators for "redevelopment." Would love to know more about the project.


Maybe it has something to do with the Wynyard Walk to Barangaroo?
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Re: Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Postby hornetfig » Wed May 16, 2012 6:02 pm

jpp42 wrote:Still it would be a shame to see major changes to these escalators. Would love to know more about the project.


It may be. But realistically the best scenario is they end up at the PowerHouse Museum. Despite being rebuilt at least twice in their 80 years, they're still slow, comparitively unreliable and dangerous.

Being of relatively modern Otis design is all that's saved them until now - if they were five years older they wouldn't have large enough landings and they may not even have had proper cleating on the steps and so they would have been removed 50 years ago.
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Re: Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Postby jaseee » Thu May 17, 2012 9:24 am

The escalators are only being closed 1 by 1. One of them is closed at the moment with the other 3 operating.
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Re: $100 million over 4 years to improve daily commute in Sy

Postby jpp42 » Sun Jun 14, 2015 9:03 pm

This article says the 1930's era wooden escalators at Wynyard will be removed. I find this a great disappointment. I thought these had some sort of heritage protection. Does anyone know if that's true, and if so, under what terms they are being ripped out? Will one be preserved somehow? I thought there would have to be rounds of public consultation for something like this. Also, they just had a major refurbishment including new wooden treads, which no doubt had to be custom manufactured at great expense.

http://www.9news.com.au/national/2015/0 ... rd-station
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Re: Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Postby jpp42 » Sun Jun 14, 2015 9:17 pm

While the escalators survived their 2012 "redevelopment" apparently their death knell has finally come. According to this article their removal is to begin soon: http://www.9news.com.au/national/2015/0 ... rd-station.

Apparently the main reason is the wide teeth at the combs is dangerous for guide dogs, and indeed several guide dogs have been injured there in the past few years. While locals using guide dogs know to avoid these escalators, out of town blind visitors are unaware of the danger.

What I'm wondering is how the heritage will be preserved. Three of the escalators were actually moved here from Milson's Point so there is quite the history. Can enough of the mechanism be salvaged to be put on display somewhere?
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Re: Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Postby jpp42 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:35 pm

Update: I contacted TfNSW to ask for details about about the escalator work, and they said that the 9 News article is wrong in that no work on the York St. escalators is being done as part of the current Wynyard Upgrade project. Changes to the escalators are planned as part of a further later phase. I've been added to a mailing list to get more information later.
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Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Postby David10 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 2:59 pm

I'm surprised they have lasted as long as they have after the King's Cross fire in London in 1987. http://www.digicast.com.au/blog/bid/100 ... Case-Study
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Re: Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Postby jpp42 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 3:46 pm

There is a bit of a misconception about that, the part of the escalators that fueled the fire in the Kings Cross incident was the sides - the "balustrades" if you will, not the treads. The Wynyard and Town Hall escalators have long had their balustrades replaced with metal. Such a massive fire could not happen in the Sydney escalators. Nevertheless I agree all metal is a even safer.
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Re: $100 million over 4 years to improve daily commute in Sy

Postby hornetfig » Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:01 pm

They can put one in the new Powerhouse Museum?

You can't force them to stay in service if they're considered dangerous. They've only stayed in service so long because they have almost all the safety features of a modern escalator (like corrugated cleats and tynes at each end plus flat embark/alight zones).

David Jones didn't save its wooden escalators (or its manual, attended lifts) and in time nor will Town Hall's remain.
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Re: $100 million over 4 years to improve daily commute in Sy

Postby Ben_Daui » Tue Jun 16, 2015 3:53 pm

hornetfig wrote:
David Jones didn't save manual, attended lifts).

In the Elizabeth St store there is still 2 of the manual attended lifts but these are not in service and locked.
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Re: Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Postby simonl » Tue Jun 16, 2015 4:38 pm

With the work being done here shouldn't they have taken the opportunity to put in some opal only gates?
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Re: Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Postby mandonov » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:02 pm

Wynyard's upgrade has only just started construction. Once they realign the gates to increase the paid concourse area, the new gates will most likely be put in. Someone in another thread mentioned that supply of the new gates from overseas is limited at the moment.
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Re: Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Postby simonl » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:07 pm

But they have already put in new gates of the old style on the York St side!
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Re: Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Postby Simes » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:15 pm

simonl wrote:But they have already put in new gates of the old style on the York St side!

Maybe they have had these for a while? Or they're reconditioned?

I always thought one major factor of the London Kings Cross fire was the 'fuel load' under the escalators themselves?
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Re: Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Postby mandonov » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:18 pm

simonl wrote:But they have already put in new gates of the old style on the York St side!

That's temporary while construction on the rest of the concourse begins. Once everything that's blocked off is finished, the 'corridors' that have been created will be closed off so that they can be refurbished. It's probably just easier for them to reuse what was already there instead of having to test and troubleshoot brand new gates while the station is already severely disrupted.
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Re: Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Postby pgt » Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:58 pm

Simes wrote:
simonl wrote:But they have already put in new gates of the old style on the York St side!

Maybe they have had these for a while? Or they're reconditioned?
I saw them installing some of the gates on Sunday just passed and noticed that one of the York St exits that normally would be open was closed off and the gates moved from there from the looks of it, so I'm not sure about "new" gates of any sort.

Could be that the final development sees new gates if any additional ones are required?
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Re: Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Postby simonl » Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:59 pm

Ok. Still, I'm a bit frustrated by the performance of the gates.
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Re: Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Postby boronia » Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:42 pm

There would be some gates left over from the recent N concourse upgrade at Central.
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Re: Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Postby mandonov » Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:00 am

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Re: Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Postby jpp42 » Tue Jul 07, 2015 3:06 pm

jpp42 wrote:While the escalators survived their 2012 "redevelopment" apparently their death knell has finally come. According to this article their removal is to begin soon: http://www.9news.com.au/national/2015/0 ... rd-station.


I finally heard back from TfNSW on my inquiry about this. The York St. escalators will not be changed during the current Wynyard station upgrade, nor as part of Wynyard Walk. Only after both these projects are completed will planning begin on any changes to the York St. escalators, but nothing has been scoped or budgeted for this, so it is unclear when or if this will happen. The 9 News article apparently was simply wrong in this detail.
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Re: Wooden escalators.

Postby Roderick Smith » Tue Nov 08, 2016 2:24 pm

Is there now a timeline for Wynyard? Is there one for Town Hall (also slated for replacement)?
I can't see any way of retaining wooden in today's world. Could they be relocated to Luna Park?
My annoyance with Australian escalators is their lack of speed: typically no better than 60 steps/minute, whereas Moskva has 120 steps/minute. I may have found a 90 in Melbourne once.

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After 80 years, Sydney's wooden escalators face the chop.
July 22 2016 'SMH'.
Sydneysiders have ridden on them for more than eight decades.
But just like the millions of shoes that have trodden all over them, the long wooden escalators at one of Sydney's busiest train stations seem to have worn out their welcome.
Wynyard's wooden escalators threatened.
After more than 80 years, Wynyard Station's rare wooden escalators face the chop.
Following an application from Transport for NSW seeking their removal, the fate of the four escalators at Wynyard Station now lies in the hands of the Office of Environment and Heritage.
Wynyard duty manager Lance Hussey has mixed emotions about the escalators because he has seen his fair share of accidents on them over the near three decades he has worked there.
Wooden escalators have been a part of Wynyard Station since 1932. Photo: Steven Siewert.
"They are a part of Sydney's history but we have more injuries on them. If you have any problems with people [injuring themselves on escalators] it's on these," he said.
"We had a woman who tore her skirt straight off [after it got caught] – she came down in her panties."
Their wide wooden treads can be a trap, especially for high heels. Guide dogs have been injured after getting their claws stuck in the combs.
Yet as the first wooden escalators in Australia, the four at Wynyard are steeped in history.
The fate of the esclators lies in the hands of the Office of Environment and Heritage. Photo: Steven Siewert.
According to a report for Sydney Trains, there are only seven wooden escalators left in the world – six of which are in Sydney and one in Buenos Aires in Argentina.
The other two in Sydney at Town Hall Station are expected to be removed early next year.
The escalators connect Wynyard Station's ground floor with York Street. Photo: Steven Siewert.
Over the years there is almost nothing station staff haven't seen travel on the OTIS L-type escalators at Wynyard.
"The hoons used to ride down them on Friday and Saturday nights with sheets of cardboard in the '90s," Mr Hussey said.
Photo gallery.
Wooden escalators at Wynyard railway station.
The first three of the wooden escalators that grace the station were installed in 1932 – the same year the Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened – and the fourth added in 1952.
Encased in timber veneer panelling, they connect the station's ground floor with a foyer that opens onto York Street.
Although wall and floor finishes have been replaced, a recent heritage report said it was possible the escalators' original finishes may have "survived concealed in some areas".
And while they have posed a risk for some people, Mr Hussey said Wynyard "would have been lost without them" because they are still a major thoroughfare for a station that handles more than 150,000 people a day.
They will get even more use in September when the Wynyard Walkway to Barangaroo opens.
However, the Guide Dogs Association has been lobbying for years for the wooden escalators to be removed because of the hazard they pose to dogs.
Several weeks ago a guide dog was injured when its claws became wedged between the wide timber slats of one of the escalators at Wynyard.
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT chief executive Graeme White said the latest incident highlighted the need to replace the wide tooth-comb escalators.
Experts have also raised concerns over the years about wooden escalators, citing a fire at Kings Cross Underground station in central London in 1987 that killed 31 people.
That fire started in a machine room under a wooden escalator on the Piccadilly line, quickly spreading through the station's upper levels.
The escalators at Wynyard have been treated with a fire retardant coating and fire sprinklers installed inside their enclosure.
The last of the wooden escalators at David Jones' flagship store in central Sydney were removed in 2001.
They had originally been built for the London Underground but were shipped in the 1930s to Australia where they were adapted to suit the department store.
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/after-80-year ... q19io.html
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Re: Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Postby jpp42 » Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:58 pm

York St escalators to be permanently shut down on 2 January. Last chance to take a ride and check them or photograph them. Don't miss your chance!
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Re: Wynyard: York St Escalator "Redevelopment" ?

Postby rogf24 » Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:04 pm

Monocle did a great audio piece/podcast on the Wynyard escalators 2 months ago.

https://monocle.com/radio/shows/SECTION-D/260/
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