While visiting Los Angeles last summer, I had seen this interesting looking ride known as Angel’s Flight. I don’t know about you, but when I see something like this I feel the need to jump on board and play as if I were a ten year old boy. Unfortunately, my logic rushed back to me and I had to refrain from doing what my instincts wanted me to do. A few days ago I decided to find out a little more about this tourist novelty. How angry and jealous do you think I was when I found out this mini railway was actually functional and operating up until about 2013?
About three years ago, Angel’s Flight was closed after one of the twin cars, Sinai or Olivet, slipped off the track. Prior to this closing and few others, the funicular railway had been operating since its opening in 1901. Since then it carried millions of passengers for a penny a day and more recently about 50 cents a day. It was used at two different locations in Los Angeles. The first location was between Hill Street and Olive Street. While in this original location, people rode the railway from their homes in Bunker Hill to their jobs in downtown. Over time the wealthy residents of Los Angeles moved to the suburbs and then in 1969 the area was cleared for redevelopment. As a result, the railway was shut down. Angel’s Flight then opened in a second location in 1996 between Hill Street and California Plaza. In this location, it was closed three times in 2001, 2011, and 2013 due to accidents and safety issues.
Today, there is little hope that Angel’s Flight will being reopened despite the wants of many people in the Los Angeles area. To make this historically significant railway operable again, would be to change its identity into something more modern and meeting of the safety regulations of this time period. What was once an “important economic link,” is now just a tourist novelty.