What’s the deal with the Angels Flight Railway? A sign posted at the top railway station reads, “Angels Flight Railway maintenance and improvements were completed and tested successfully in mid-February 2014. However, the Railway cannot reopen for public service until State regulatory approval is granted. For reopening information, please check angelsflight.org.” Well, the official website of the shortest railway in the world just says, “Angels Flight remains closed pending resolution of a regulatory issue,” but gives no other reopening information. Angels Flight has been dormant following a derailment accident in September 2013 and a scathing report from the National Transportation Safety Board. Back in 2001 there was a deadly accident on the railway that lead to a nine year closure.
The funicular is just 298 feet long. It connects 351 South Hill Street, across the street from the Grand Central Market, with the California Plaza Watercourt up the hill at 350 South Grand Avenue. Right now, you have to climb the 153 stairs that run next to the tracks to get from top to bottom. It’s a great workout, but not at lunchtime when you are hiking back to work up the stairs in the California sun.
The Railway dates back to 1901, when Bunker Hill was one of the most fashionable neighborhoods in Los Angeles and the train cars, named Olivet and Sinai, ferried prominent residents up and down the steep slope between Hill and Olive streets. The beloved landmark was dismantled for “urban renewal” of the area in 1969. In the early 1990’s, the Railway was refurbished and relocated a half-block south, reopening in 1996.
Hal Bastain is a member of the Board of Directors of the Angels Flight Railway Foundation. He recently posted the following on his personal Facebook page, “Please know that we are working on getting Angels Flight running again as fast as we can. Thank you for your good thoughts and patience.” He goes on to say, “In the meantime, we have an IMMEDIATE need for cash to pay expenses that we have, even when the cars aren’t running, including a large insurance premium.” You can send fully deductible donations to:
Angels Flight Railway Foundation
Bunker Hill P.O. Box 712345
Los Angeles, CA 90071
I hope that they are able to get the Angels Flight Railway up and running safely soon, because I’m not really into afternoon stair climbing!