Fast-moving Escalators in Metro Station Namesti Miru

Fast-moving escalators in Prague metro stations surprise most visitors. Escalator speed plus walking speed provide double the speed. You can try this out in several Prague metro, because several stations have, fast-moving escalators. You’ll be up or down in no time. But be careful when you step on the escalator especially with children and when you have luggage. These fast-moving escalators are rapidly disappearing because they do not comply with EU guidelines. When the stairs need maintenance, they change into low-speed escalators.

fast-moving escalators

Fast-moving Escalators

There are two types of escalators, the fast ones that fling you off at the end and the slow ones that can double the length of your entire journey. The fast ones were built under communism and the slow ones are gradually replacing the fast ones. With a length of 87 metres and 533 steps, the escalator in Namesti Miru station takes 2 minutes and 21 seconds to go up and 2 minutes 19 seconds to go down, without walking.

The Namesti Miru metro station escalator is the longest and fastest escalator in Europe. It is three times faster than ‘ordinary’ escalators. It is customary to stand on the right and walk up or down on the left. Most locals always walk down as it may make the difference of catching their train or not. It is easy to recognize the fast escalators. The steps are made of wood whereas the ‘slow’ escalators steps are made of die-cast aluminium or steel. 

Hold on to the handrail!

The railing runs faster than the stairs and that’s done intentionally to keep you alert. This is necessary because at the end of the stairs it looks like you are being launched on to stable ground. The transport rules, which you automatically agree to when buying a ticket, require you to hold the handrail on the escalator.

fast-moving escalators

Fast-moving escalators will soon be history

By 2030, all fast-moving Soviet-type escalators in the Prague metro system will have been replaced by slower ones as they do not meet EU safety standards. When the metro was built in 1974, no one had ever heard about safety rules but after joining the European Union in 2004, Prague Public Transport Company (DDP) had to comply to EU laws. They started reducing the speed and at the time of writing (2022) there are four speeds: the fast-moving Soviet type 90 cm per second, newer ones move 75, 65 or 50 cm per minute.

The following metro stations still have fast escalators:
* Line B: Florenc
* Line A and B: Mustek
* Line A:  Flora
* Lijn A: Dejvicka
* Line C: Kobylisy

Prague and Moscow Fast-moving Escalators

The Prague metro is a carbon copy of the Moscow and Saint Petersburg metro system. All three are known for their stations deep under the ground. When in 1968, the Russians came marching in, they were not credited with much goodwill and progress. Apart from one thing: they started the construction of the Prague Metro. As the communists feared that the West would consider Prague a target for dropping a nuclear bomb, they laid the tracks and stations deep under the surface. This way the metro stations doubled as air-raid shelters in the event of a nuclear attack. The Prague metro became operational in 1974, when Prague and Moscow were close friends and Czechoslovakia was part of the Eastern Bloc. The Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia cooperated in many ways; one of the results was the Prague metro.

fast-moving escalators

The Escalator in Kobylisy Metro Station

Kobylisy metro station also has long escalators but this station differs from other deep stations in Prague. To start with, Kobylisy station is not located in the centre but in a suburb in the north of Prague. Secondly, this station was not built during communist days but only in 2004. This station is so deep not because it doubles as an air-raid shelter, but because the Kobylisy district is located on a hill and the distance between Nadrazi Holesovice (the station before Kobylisy) and Kobylisy station, is quite short and the track the gradient would be too steep for trains to negotiate.

Escalators and Maintenance

Escalators are regularly closed for maintenance work. About two hundred sensors continuously monitor the sounds of 21 escalators. The software uses artificial intelligence (AI) to interpret unusual noise patterns that may mean parts need maintenance.

In the Prague metro there is an unwritten law that people keep to the right and those walking up or down do so on the left. This causes an uneven distribution of weight. The right side is more heavily loaded and causes wear on the tracks, chains and bearings. Until a few years ago, there were stickers indicating to keep to the right. They have now been removed.

Does it pay to walk up the escalator instead of remain standing? One study calculated the estimated time it takes to go up and down the escalator while staying put is 1.15 seconds. When you walk you gain about 30 to 40 seconds.

Related articles:
Revolution in the metro: renaming of Prague metro stations
Prague metro stations as a crash course in history

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