Name: 皇冠大扶梯 | Huangguan Escalator (Lianglukou Escalator)
Where: 两路口 | Lianglukou Subway Station, Chongqing
What to do: Ride the second-highest (112m) escalator in Asia and maybe see something out the windows.
Getting there: From the Lianglukou subway station, follow the signs toward the Lianglukou Escalator or Caiyuanba Train Station.
Cost: 2 RMB (US$0.30)
Several months ago, I read a vague claim that Chongqing was home to the longest escalator in the world. An obscure claim to fame to be sure, but quirky enough to look into. Further research told me it was located somewhere around the Lianglukou metro station. Like many things in Chongqing, exact map locations are difficult to find in English.
However, having spent some time at a language school near there and a couple hours looking around the area, I had seen no sign of it. There is a local train station a significant elevation below the subway station, which after eating in a underground dumpling stall, I took the immense staircase down. But, this elusive escalator was nowhere in sight.
The topography of Chongqing is an interesting one. Known as The Mountain City throughout China, this rough and rocky landscape becomes much more noticeable toward the city centre of Jiefangbei. Riverside roads are built on elevated pillars. Abandoned cargo loaders slop down 5 stories to the boat docks beneath. And numerous back alley stairs and outdoor escalators wind their way through the veins of the city.
On a hunt for this one ‘world’s longest escalator’ a quick glance at the Lianglukou station map showed a differently-colored line I hadn’t seen before heading from Exit 3 to the train station. It was worth checking out.
Sure enough, a plethora of signs pointing toward the Lianglukou Escalator. A ‘caution fast speed’ sign and 2RMB (US$0.30) off my transit card and I was going down. The speed did catch me off guard during my initial step, but afterward it was an underwhelming ride down the 112 meter length.
The repeated advertisements, individually unreadable at the 30 degree incline, sped by in a manner that could induce vertigo in some. It seemed I was not the only one taking pictures on this little-known-yet-infamous escalator either. Further up from me was a woman steadying her smartphone for photos as well. Whether she she more interested in the escalator or the strange weiguoren taking photos on it, I’m not sure.
A few times during the ride, the descending tunnel gave way to a pane of glass you could see the city through. Looking away from downtown into Chongqing’s perpetual fog, there wasn’t too much to look at, though.
Finally at the bottom, I wandered out to see where it led to. A small tunnel of arbitrary item shops roughly reminiscent of the metro stations in Shanghai. Among them were bags, cheap remote control toys, hiking boots, and ducks on leashes. Exiting the tunnel brought me to the parking lot of the train station.
Since I had already seen around that area before, it was back into the escalator tunnels and then going up.