Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right California icon-chevron-right Los Angeles icon-chevron-right Angels Flight is finally reopening
News / City Life

Angels Flight is finally reopening

Angels Flight
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

Of All the ambitious city-spanning rail projects in the works across Los Angeles, it’s oddly the return of Angels Flight, the self-proclaimed “shortest railway in the world,” that has the city abuzz this summer.

On Thursday, August 31, after a four-year closure, Olivet and Sinai—as the two railcars are affectionately known—will resume their 298-foot route up and down Bunker Hill under a new operational deal that will keep the tiny train running for at least 30 years. The price of a one-way ride will increase to $1, double what it was when it was last open according to the Downtown News.

Angels Flight, a technological novelty when it was built in 1901, saved Angelenos a hike up one of the area’s steepest hills. The science behind the funicular is the same as it was 116 years ago: Two cars use a single inclined track—save a doubled midsection so they can pass each other—via a shared cable that pulls one car up as gravity guides the other down; don’t worry, a proper braking system was added in the aughts.

Other than a brief hush-hush revival for its La La Land cameo, the Downtown railway has sat stationary since a slew of issues halted its service in 2013, when operators at the station were using a tree branch to permanently hold down a run button that overrode the two trains’ safety systems.

The Angels Flight we know today is in fact the train’s second iteration; it sat on the slope above Third Street until 1969, when it was dismantled to make room for what’s now a high-rise senior community. Olivet and Sinai were supposed to nap for just a two-year closure, but due to bureaucratic and budgetary holdups, they didn’t resurface until 1996, when the railway was reconstructed a half block south, in its current location.

When it was first constructed, Angels Flight provided a carefree link between the Victorian mansions atop Bunker Hill and the bustling flats of Downtown. These days you’re more likely to find postlunch food-coma–ridden office workers making their way from Grand Central Market back up to California Plaza, but the train’s history still shines through.

Want more? Sign up here to stay in the know.

Advertising
Advertising

Latest news