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Belvidere Lifts Blog

The World’s Most Extraordinary Escalators

Here at Belvidere Lifts we specialise in lift solutions, in this article we document and pick fun at some of the most impressive and extraordinary ones we could find.

The Origin of Escalators

The first working escalator was installed alongside the Old Iron Pier at Coney Island, New York City in 1896. This particular device was little more than an inclined belt with cast-iron slats or cleats on the surface for traction, and traveled along a 25° incline. A few months later, the same prototype was used for a month-long trial period on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge. Early escalators had stairs made of wood – which happens to burn, unfortunately. One of the most notorious escalator accidents in history occurred on November 18th, 1987, when a fire fanned by drafts in London’s Underground subway network killed 31 people. The fire at King’s Cross St. Pancras station started beneath a wooden escalator built shortly after the Second World War. Following the tragedy, most of London’s wooden escalators were removed and replaced; some of the last remaining ones can be seen (and ridden) at Greenford Station.

Old Iron Pier

Longest Escalator System

In Hong Kong, the Central – Mid-Levels Escalator system is the longest outdoor covered escalator in the world. The escalator runs a length of 800 meters and climbs 135 meters in elevation. To ride the length of the escalator takes approximately 20 minutes. If this is your first ride on the elevator, you should allocate at least an hour so that you can stop off at some of the side streets, including the Central Market to see a traditional Hong Kong outdoor market, and Hollywood road to check out the antique shops. And best of all, it’s free to ride!

hong kong escalator

Longest Single Escalator

The longest escalators in the world are installed in deep underground stations of the Saint Petersburg Metro. Three stations have escalators up to 137 m (449 ft) long and 68.5 m (225 ft) high. The longest freestanding (supported only at the ends) escalator in the world is inside CNN Center’s atrium in Atlanta, Georgia. It rises 8 stories and is 205 feet (62 m) long. Originally built as the entrance to the amusement park, The World of Sid and Marty Krofft, the escalator is now used for CNN studio tours.

cnn escalator

Most Narrow Escalator

One can’t designate any one escalator as “the narrowest”, as escalators roughly 16 inches (40 cm) wide were a standard size back in the day. Often installed by department stores and at transit (usually train) stations, these narrow escalators made side-by-side riding impossible. Here is an example of what is generally considered to be the narrowest in Chicago.

chicago escalator


We hope you enjoyed our selection of Extraordinary Escalators; if you require any more information about escalators or lifts see our services here. We are ideally situated to serve the local area with engineers located throughout the Midlands and Wales.

american escalator