LOS ANGELES—On Wednesday, March 1, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that Angels Flight, the iconic railway located in Downtown Los Angeles, is expected to re-open to the public by Labor Day.
Mayor Garcetti unveiled the modernization plans alongside Councilmember José Huizar and the Angels Flight Railway Foundation, at the base of the railway. Thanks to a plan certified by the California Public Utilities Commission, Angels Flight will undergo upgrades meeting the highest safety standards, through a public-private partnership. According to the mayor, the Angels Flight Railway Foundation and the Madrid-based ACS Group recently finalized an agreement to “recondition, operate, and maintain” the funicular for the next 30 years.
“Angels Flight is a cultural gem that tells an unforgettable story about the history of Los Angeles,” said Mayor Garcetti at the unveiling. “Today, we celebrate the rebirth of this iconic attraction—and once the modernization is complete, we will welcome millions of visitors from around the world to experience it with us.”
The 298-foot funicular railway, known as the “shortest railway in the world,” was built to transport passengers between Hill and Olive Streets on Bunker Hill. Financed by Colonel J.W. Eddy, it was originally opened on December 31, 1901, and dismantled in 1969 due to a redevelopment in the Bunker Hill area. In 1996, the funicular was rebuilt and put into operation once more, until an accident in 2001 that killed one passenger and injured seven.
Angels Flight was re-opened to the public in 2010, but an accident in 2013 led to another closure, when one of its twin rail cars, Sinai and Olivet, derailed near the middle of the tracks. The six passengers aboard at the time were uninjured. A month after the incident, the National Transportation Safety Board released a report stating that the accident was likely caused by “the intentional bypass of the funicular safety system with Angels Flight management knowledge.”
The safety upgrades will include the installation of an emergency walkway next to the tracks and raising the height of the train’s doors. Testing and inspections will be carried out through spring and summer of this year.
“It is our hope that this public-private partnership ensures the new Angels Flight will be safe, economically sustainable, and—once again—a key City of Los Angeles cultural centerpiece for years to come,” said Councilmember José Huizar at the unveiling.
The Angels Flight Railway was featured in the 2016 Oscar-nominated film, “La La Land,” starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.