Wheaton Station Escalator – Silver Spring, Maryland - Atlas Obscura

Wheaton Station Escalator

The longest escalator in the Western Hemisphere takes over three minutes to ride down. 


The lengths of a 747, the escalator on Montgomery County’s red line is quite a ride, considered the longest set of singe span escalators in the Western Hemisphere.A very, very long ride. 

While three-and-a-half minutes doesn’t sound that long, imagine how slowly those seconds would tick by as you ascended to street level from the deepest depths of the second deepest station in the vast belly of the Washington Metro system. Long enough to ponder why the metro system is buried so far beneath the earth, (an exceptionally thick soft rock layer), how long the escalators are in the Eastern Hemisphere, (Hong Kong, 745 feet), and speculate on how many escalator accidents occur per year. (1 or 2).

The 230-foot moving staircase is counted among fellow staircase titans, including the Rosslyn Metro Escalator, which gets a puzzling amount of attention for only coming in at a measly 207 feet, ranking fifth amongst its other Metrorail contenders. It travels at a speed of 90 feet per minute, and so far, hasn’t killed anyone that we know of, although it has no immunity to the constant breakdowns that most escalators seem to be plagued with. 

While Wheaton Station boasts the longest escalator, it still isn’t the only title holder in the Washington Metro. The Forest Glen station is so deep (196 feet underground) it requires high-speed elevators to transport passengers to and from the surface. In your face, Wheaton.

Know Before You Go

You can park at the station, to use this metro stop, but get there early. This is a big commuter station and it fills up.

From Around the Web