LA's Iconic Angels Flight Railway Climbs Bunker Hill Once Again

By Abram, Susan | Daily News (Los Angeles, CA), August 31, 2017 | Go to article overview

LA's Iconic Angels Flight Railway Climbs Bunker Hill Once Again


Abram, Susan, Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)


The historic Angels Flight railway in downtown Los Angeles reopened Thursday, August 31, 2017 at 9-30 this morning. What is billed as the shortest railway in the world has been closed since 2013 when one of the two rail cars came off the tracks. The 5 million dollars in renovations have been made through a partnership between the nonprofit Angels Flight Railway Foundation, A-C-S Infrastructure and the engineering firm Sener.(Walt Mancini/Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Dozens of people endured hellish heat Thursday morning in front of the bright, orange arch of Los Angeles' iconic Angels Flight, for what many of them called a short, yet significant train ride to local history heaven.

"The ride was amazing! It felt great," a perspiring L.A. Mayor Eric Garctti told a crowd of reporters after he and City Councilman Jose Huizar rode the first car of the morning up downtown's Bunker Hill.

"On a hot day like today, it's a perfect day to ride Angels Flight," he added. "There's a couple of historic bumps. The historic bumps are part of it. But it felt very safe, very secure."

The funky little funicular that carried Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling to the top of downtown L.A. in the movie "La La Land" reopened to the general public Thursday morning. Dubbed the world's shortest public railroad, Angels Flight will resume doing what it first did on New Year's Eve 1901, ferrying riders up and down the city's stunningly steep Bunker Hill. A round trip cost a penny back then. It will now cost a $1 per round trip, or .50 cents with a TAP card.

For Whittier resident Ron Cherryholmes, the railway carries a special place in his heart and blood: his great-, great-, great-grandfather Col. J.W. Eddy built Angels Flight, which operates by using the counterbalancing weights of its cars to pull one up while the other descends.

"It's a landmark," Cherryholmes said. "People always link Los Angeles with it. We're so honored to be a part of it."

The railway has long made its mark as part of downtown Los Angeles' historic landscape, even being mentioned in John Fante's American classic "Ask the Dust." But its own journey has been one of stops and go's.

It closed in 1969 for a decades-long redevelopment project that saw Bunker Hill's mansions replaced by high-rise office buildings, hotels, luxury apartments and museums.

Four years after it reopened in 1996 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

It was closed again in 2001, however, after a failure of the counterbalancing system caused a crash that killed one rider and injured several others. …

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