Century-old Angels Flight railway prepares to ascend Bunker Hill once again

109431 full
109431 full

Crews have been hard at work on the more than century-old downtown Los Angeles railway known as Angels Flight. After it closed down in 2013 for safety issues, the railway is on track to reopen on Labor Day weekend.

The shortest railway in the world first opened in 1901. It's been featured in countless movies, from its early days during the silent film era to the recent movie, "La La Land."

The funicular, a cable-drawn railway with counterbalancing cars taking passengers up and down Bunker Hill between Hill and Olive Streets, shut down in the 1960s. It was then reconstructed and ran in the 1990s. But it's been closed on and off over the last two decades due to a series of accidents, one of them fatal.

L.A. officials announced earlier this year they had formed a public private partnership to bring the beloved landmark back to life and made needed safety improvements to comply with state standards.

"It’s been a lot of ups and downs with Angels Flight, but I think since the announcement, we’ve made a lot of progress," said Borja Leon, city director of transportation.

He said the railway has a new evacuation staircase, and improvements to doors on the rail cars and gates around the tracks.

The pair of rail cars, called Sinai and Olivet, have been treated for termites and received a fresh coat of bright orange paint.

The property has even had a visit from hungry goats brought in to clear brush from the slope below.

The facility now just needs to pass a final inspection by state officials before it runs again in early September.

There's no word yet on whether fares, which were last 50 cents, will be going up. When it opened in 1901, a ride cost only a penny.

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