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July 14, 2011

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Metro escalators will operate

SOME escalators that had been shut down for safety checks in two subway stations will return to service temporarily to ease congestion on platforms and stairways, the city government said yesterday.

Four of the eight escalators in the Xinzhuang Station of Metro Line 1 that had been suspended because of a fatal accident in Beijing will return today. Another six escalators – two in Xinzhuang Station and four in the Shanghai South Railway Station – will resume operation by Saturday, revealed the city's Metro operator, Shanghai Shentong Group.

It was unclear when the remaining 12 closed escalators in stations on Metro Lines 1 and 7 would be restored.

"Considering Shanghai Metro's passenger flow and safety concerns it caused, city government mediated the Metro operator and the escalator company to resume the facilities' service temporarily," Chen Qiwei, Shanghai government spokesman, told a press conference yesterday.

Since an investigation by the state quality inspection authority is not yet complete, city quality-control officials will keep checking the escalators to ensure their safe operation, Chen said.

Altogether, 22 escalators made by the OTIS Elevator (China) Co were shut down in six Shanghai Metro stations for inspection after one person died and 30 were injured last Tuesday when an OTIS 513MPE escalator broke down and stopped suddenly in the Beijing Zoo Station in Beijing.

The closures have caused serious congestion in the Metro stations, especially those at the junctions of two or more lines or at terminal points, as thousands of passengers are forced to climb stairs to leave the platforms.

The interval between trains on Metro Line 1 had to be extended to satisfy safety concerns during rush hour. The situation was most serious in the Xinzhuang and Shanghai South Railway stations when passengers had to climb stairs with their luggage on their way to take trains.

"The escalator service suspension has dragged down passenger flow and forced the line to extend train intervals during rush hours, and therefore triggered new capacity problems and safety hazards," Shentong said in a statement.

The Metro operator reminded passengers to hold the handrail and listen to station staff's on-site instructions.


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