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Angels Flight offers short trip through long history for a penny

By Hayley Fox
Published: Friday, December 30, 2011, at 02:54PM
Angels Flight Eric Richardson

Angels Flight celebrates 110 years with penny rides on Saturday.

Experience the perks of living Downtown in 1901, with a one cent ride on Angels Flight on the last day of 2011. Celebrating its 110th anniversary of transporting shoppers, residents, tourists and workers, the short train ride aims to transport you through a long history of L.A.

On Saturday only, you can take a penny ride or pay a dollar for a limited edition, commemorative ticket that does double-duty as a souvenir and lottery ticket (they're only selling 1000 of them).

If you bring that golden ticket across the street to the Grand Central Market, you'll receive a Grand Central logo shopping bag and a chance to win the Angels Flight anniversary drawing. The winner receives the Angels enthusiast's dream: a behind-the-scenes tour with a director of the Angels Flight railway and more souvenirs.

This is the second year of the Flight's one penny, promotion rides, which began last year to celebrate the 109th anniversary.

Although Angels Flight has long been a fixture of Downtown, it's had a roller coaster history of delayed openings and abrupt closures. In 2001, an accident on the funicular killed an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor and injured seven others, resulting in lawsuits, an investigation of the railway and years or repairs and restoration.

When the ride was finally reopened to the public in March 2010, it lasted a little over a year before wear-and-tear on the wheels led to another temporary closure.

Angels Flight is more than a nostalgic mode of transportation, its bright orange mini-trains trimmed in brown and white have been reoccurring L.A. icons in movies, books and folklore of the city. It's perfect fodder for crime novels, leading Michael Connelly to name an entire novel after it and write many pivotal scenes around it. Film noir has embraced the Flight as well, making appearances in the 1951 film "M" and Robert Aldrich's 1955 "Kiss Me Deadly." Even "The Muppets" movie that came out earlier this year includes a trip to Angels Flight.

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