Waverley Steps escalators sealed off over rain leaks

Dampness is evident at the foot of the Waverley escalators
Dampness is evident at the foot of the Waverley escalators
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NEW escalators at Waverley Steps were out of action again today – less than two weeks after they were installed.

Rail bosses said they had been sealed off as a safety precaution because the roof above had not been sealed properly and rain was able to get through.

Six escalators were built at Waverley Steps as part of a £7 million revamp project which saw the direct access from Princes Street to Waverley station closed for a year and passengers diverted through the Princes Mall shopping centre.

The steps have been rebuilt alongside the escalators at just over half their width, providing a choice of how to make the 40-foot ascent.

But last week one of the escalators broke down within 24 hours of the grand opening.

Last night, the lower “up” escalator was out of action while maintenance staff worked on it.

At this morning’s rush hour, both the “up” and “down” escalators closest to Princes Street were taped off.

A spokeswoman for Network Rail said the problem was with the glass roof, not the escalators.

She said: “They are not damaged. They have been switched off as a safety precaution. Part of the roof has not yet been sealed and there is water coming down.

“We are waiting for the weather conditions to get better to seal it properly.”

Before the refurbishment, some 14,000 people a day used the Waverley Steps – 40 per cent of station users – and station bosses said they expected that figure to increase with the escalators.

Today, one dismayed passenger, Kirsten Wilson, 39, a librarian at the National Library, said: “They have been in for a couple of weeks now and there has only been one or two days that I know of when they have all been working.

“When you think of all the money they have spent and all the time it has taken, they are just not reliable.”

Another rail user, James Black, 46, a research technician at Edinburgh University, said: “It’s a bit soon after they have opened for them to be breaking down. You expect them to be working.

“It’s a bit disappointing so soon after all the hassle of having to go through the shopping centre.

“They have had plenty time to seal the roof and the weather should not be a problem.”

Jodie McIntosh, 18, a veterinary nursing student, said: “For people who can’t manage the stairs, it’s a bit of a shame the escalators are not working. It’s a bit worrying when they are so new.”

Passenger Mandy Gray, 46, added: “I’m fairly young, fit and able to lift my luggage, but there are plenty of people who can’t and it’s a real shame for them. It’s brand new so it should be working like brand new.”