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Angels Flight Resumes Service

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Monday, March 15, 2010, at 01:23PM
IMGP6960 Ed Fuentes

It's another new morning for Angels Flight Railway.



The historic Angels Flight Railway began its official operating schedule this morning, re-opening with far less fanfare than accompanied its last return in 1996.

There were more media members than riders milling about the funicular mid-morning, but even early it was easy to see a mix of passengers adding the line back into their daily schedule.

Twin cars Olivet and Sinai are scheduled to make their up and down runs seven days a week, from 6:45am to 10pm. Fare is $0.25.

The foundation running the railroad warns that there may be a few disruptions in that schedule as last-minute tweaks are performed.

Short delays didn't seem to phase folks out to check out the rails this morning. After one run, the cars stopped and a PA announcement said that it would be five minutes before the cars resumed. 30 minutes later, testing ended and waiting tourists jumped on board, likely unaware that Angels Flight had been closed for nine years.

The railway first opened in 1901, rising alongside 3rd street to carry residents of Bunker Hill down to the shops below. It operated there until 1969, when it was torn down to make way for the Angelus Plaza senior housing complex.

Originally, plans were to accomodate a rebuilt Angels Flight in that development. That didn't happen, and plans were shifted to include the railway in the 1980s California Plaza office development. Early renderings called for the line to rise parallel to Hill street, connecting to the still-unbuild third tower.

Only in 1996 did the incline reappear in its present configuration. It ran until Feb. 1, 2001, when a cable failure caused one of the two cars to slide downhill, colliding with the other and killing one passenger.

The returned railway boasts several extra safety systems not present on the first rebuilt, including a second safety cable -- a feature of the original design -- and new working emergency brakes on each of the two "bullwheels."

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