Monday, March 27, 2006

The most fragile machine in the world

... is apparently the escalator at the Downtown Crossing subway stop. About every 2-3 weeks, its innards are laid bare, and serious-looking, grizzled men, Men Who Know How To Use Tools, stand waist-deep in its guts, among gears, chains and other manifestly metallic, oily things, discussing the state of their patient in grave tones.

Why a machine that moves at the stately pace of 2 feet a second should require almost-weekly maintenance whereas another machine that revolves a few thousand times a minute, a machine driven by blowing sh!t up inside it, can go for years on end with no problems is baffling. Sure, I can see parts wearing out and needing to be replaced, but every couple of weeks seems a bit much. Is there a malevolent escalator gremlin that keeps gumming up the works ? Is the underside of the escalator continuously being sprayed with acid ? Is it shoddy workmanship, leading to a continuous case of "what had happened was ..." as the escalator repair company tries to explain the latest breakdown ?

Inquiring minds want to know.

1 Comments:

Blogger Son1 said...

Yeah, but it's like this on most of the T's escalators. The really long ones at Porter Square? It's a rare day that all three are working, when one of those breaks, it tends to be gone for over a month. No one ever appears to be working on it -- they just take off the stairs, and let it sit there.

I almost think, sometimes, that it's the T's engineers passive-aggressive way of getting back at someone.

But really -- the whole organization is a mess, from the escalators on up. Can't wait for the next rate hike that's coming soon!

8:24 AM  

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