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Mayor celebrates reopening of Angels Flight

LOS ANGELES — The historic Angels Flight railway in downtown Los Angeles, billed as the world’s shortest railway, is running again.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced in March that the railway would undergo a renovation and reopen by Labor Day following its closure in 2013, when one of the two rail cars came off the tracks.

“Six months ago, I stood here and said that we will have Angels Flight up and running by Labor Day. And we are here to say we are going to deliver on that promise,” Garcetti said at a news conference celebrating the reopening Aug. 31. “Two cars, Oliver and Sinai, are ready to take passengers on the world’s shortest railway.”

The $5 million in renovations were made through a partnership between the nonprofit Angels Flight Railway Foundation, ACS Infrastructure and the engineering firm Sener, which formed the Angels Flight Development Co.

“This is certainly a historic day for a historic rail line,” L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar said. “And in a city with as storied of a history as we have, Angels Flight is a treasure that captures us here, and continues to captivate us not only in Los Angeles but throughout the world.”

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors approved a motion by Garcetti in 2015 to study ways to reopen Angels Flight, which travels a short distance up and down steep Bunker Hill in Downtown Los Angeles.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone kiss in a scene from ‘La La Land’ that was filmed on one of the rail cars of Angels Flight. The shortest railway in the world is scheduled to reopen Aug. 31. (Courtesy photo)

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone kiss in a scene from ‘La La Land’ that was filmed on one of the rail cars of Angels Flight. The shortest railway in the world is scheduled to reopen Aug. 31.
(Courtesy photo)

Service will last from 6:45 a.m. until 10 p.m. for seven days a week, 365 days per year, according to the railway’s website. One-way fares are $1, or 50 cents for MTA tap card holders.

The railway, which reopened in 1996 after being closed for three decades, has had a troubled history. No one was injured in the 2013 accident, but it did trigger its closure.

One person was killed in a 2001 accident that caused it to be closed for nine years. It reopened in 2010, but the state Public Utilities Commission shut it down for a month in 2012 over safety concerns, and it operated until it was closed again in 2013 following the minor accident.

Col. J.W. Eddy first opened a funicular rail up Bunker Hill on Dec. 31, 1901, when rides cost a penny.

It was dismantled and put into storage in 1969 because of the Bunker Hill urban renewal project, then rebuilt and reopened in 1996, a half-block south of the original site.

During the period when it was shut down, Angels Flight was used for a scene in the movie “La La Land.”

 

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