Angels Flight on Hill Street in the Bunker Hill area of downtown Los Angeles is famously known as the shortest railway in the world. From 1901 until 1969 it connected the Central Market to the Victorian homes on the hill. In the 1970s Bunker Hill was cleared to make way for the office towers and apartment buildings that exist today.
In 1996 Angels Flight was re-opened a half block to the south. As Bunker Hill was regraded, so the cars, Olivet and Sinai, had to be installed on re-engineered bases to fit the new grade.
Unfortunately, the updated engineering for the railway was faulty. After an accident in 2001 when a passenger was killed, the engineering company went out of business and the owner disappeared, never to be found.
Angels Flight was closed again in 2010.
It was closed again for about a month in 2011.
Then, after another incident, it was closed again in 2013 and as I write this it has yet to re-open. The text on the plaque above reads:
Built in 1901 by Colonel J. W. Eddy, lawyer, engineer and friend of President Lincoln. Angels Flight is said to be the world’s shortest incorporated railway. The counterbalanced cars, controlled by cables, travel a 33 percent grade for 315 feet. It is estimated that Angels Flight has carried more passengers per mile than any other railway in the world, over a 100 million in its first fifty years. This incline railway is a public utility operating under a franchise granted by the City of Los Angeles. Marked by Beverly Hills Parlor #289 Native Daughters of the Golden West November 1952.
As of this writing Angels Flight still awaits its fate. All I can say is I have ridden this railway many many many times and as soon as it is up and running again I intend to be a passenger!
Now Angels Flight connects Hill Street with California Plaza, an office tower and public space.
I’ll be posting photos of California Plaza in a separate blog.
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