YAY – Angel’s Flight is Running!

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angelsflight- The historic Angels Flight funicular will resume regular service today, more than nine years after being closed because of a fatal accident.

The California Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday approved the replaced cable system and a new automatic brake system for what has been dubbed “the shortest railway in the world.”

Demonstration rides were conducted Sunday on the hillside track connecting Hill Street near the Grand Central Market to California Plaza on Grand Avenue.

Angels Flight will operate from 6:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The fare is 25 cents.

“This is good news for all the people who were tired walking up and down that hill,” said John H. Welborne, president of the Angels Flight Railway Foundation.

Passengers might encounter occasional temporary slow service “and maybe even a daytime closure” during the first “couple of weeks” of resumed service if “our vendors want to do any testing or fine-tuning to maximize efficiency,” Welborne told City News Service.

“We apologize in advance if there are any short service interruptions,” Welborne said.

Angels Flight was shut down Feb. 1, 2001, when a funicular cable failed, causing a rail car to slide downhill on the tracks and collide head on with the other car. The accident killed an 83-year-old man visiting from New Jersey, Holocaust survivor Leon Praport, and injured seven other people, including his 80-year-old wife.

Angels Flight was ready to reopen in April 2009, following tests of the new machinery running the railway a month earlier, Welborne said.

California Public Utilities Commission staff approved the safety processing paperwork in August. A request to reopen the railway was placed on the agenda of the Nov. 20 commission meeting, when the paperwork was approved, Welborne said.

In December, commission staff requested that gates be placed at the ends of the railway cars, which were added by February. The commission announced Wednesday that it had given final approval for the funicular to reopen.

Angels Flight was opened in 1901 to take passengers on one-minute trips up and down Bunker Hill, initially for a penny. It was dismantled and put into storage in 1969 because of the Bunker Hill urban renewal project. It was rebuilt and reopened in 1996, a half-block south of the original site.

The railway still uses its original cars from 1901, Olivet and Sinai.

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3 Responses to “YAY – Angel’s Flight is Running!”

  1. [...] The California Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday approved the replaced cable system and a new automatic brake system for what has been dubbed “the shortest railway in the world.” Continue reading here [...]

  2. Johnny Socko says:

    Based on the NTSB report of the 2001 accident, it wasn’t a cable that failed per se. The gear that turned the cable spool became stripped, which caused the upper car to unspool all the way down the track until it collided with the lower car.

    The 1996 rebuild employed an entirely different system than the 1901 build — which went 68 years without a failure.

    I’m very glad to see Angels Flight back up & running. Although the accident was truly tragic, it’s ridiculous that it took 9 years to get to this point. That’s slow bureaucracy, even for L.A.!

  3. Kim Cooper says:

    Rode Angels Flight today during the morning launch ceremony and it was just wonderful. I asked my grandparents, who are almost as old as Sinai and Olivet, if they had a message for the returning railway, and did they ever! Video link below:

    http://the-ogs.com/angelsflight

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