The old rear staircase actually consisted of half of the old (per-house lift) front stairs welded to the original rear stairs. The railing was a single 2 x 4 attached to the house at the top and two posts screwed to the sides of the stairs. They were put on as a temporary staircase two and a half years ago, and I guess have held up pretty well.
With the rear external staircase finally removed I can now look at building a patio and erecting a patio cover. The old staircase sat right in the middle of where those things should fit in.