Hold onto the handrail

We’re back onto a topic near to my heart. The tube.

But today’s post isn’t going to focus on the actual commute, but the steps needed to get there. Namely, the escalator.

As a kid, getting the escalator was one of the highlights of a shopping trip. It’s more exciting than a lift and easier than doing the stairs.

But now, I’m no longer a kid getting the thrill of the escalator. But a commuter sick of the announcements telling me to hold on tight and to stick to the right.

My particular problem comes with holding the handrail. I’m not sure how many people listen to the announcements and hold on, but sometimes I do. However, I have noticed a slight design flaw. Speed.

You would have thought that it was easy enough to have the steps and handrail moving at the same speed, but it seems that life isn’t that simple. Frequently the handrail is slightly quicker than the steps. This broadly isn’t an issue until you’re about halfway up or down – when you’re neither up nor down – and you need to pull your hand back as you’re now nearly fully extended on the arm. And then you’ve noticed it. The speeds are different and then you get it into your head that you’re going at different speeds so you want to adjust your hand. Then my eyes fixate on the person in front of me, when will they move? Have they noticed it too? Or do I have a hand that slips, rather than a speed issue? And then they do it. The hand shuffles back.

I thought getting the speeds right would be a fairly straightforward piece of engineering, but clearly, I was wrong. Or TfL has done a botch job.

2 thoughts on “Hold onto the handrail

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