February 15, 2012

Up and Down Bunker Hill on Angels Flight

Ever since we rode the funicular in Buda while visiting Jesse and Max in Hungary in 2006, I've been a bit fascinated with incline railways. Even though I'm an avid walker and hiker, there's just something...amusing...about riding one, watching the ground beneath you drift away as you slowly climb and crank your way to the top of some mountain.

In the case of Angels Flight in Downtown Los Angeles, though, you're merely climbing a little hill - Bunker Hill - one block in length.

That's what makes Angels Flight "The Shortest Railway in the World."

It was built in 1901 to ferry prominent citizens up and down the hill, which at the time was a steep slope without the convenient staircase that now parallels the tracks. It was also a bigger hill back then, before the top was flattened for development in the mid-20th century. (The original location actually connected Hill Street with Olive Street, but the train now operates out of a second location a half block away, connecting Hill Street with California Plaza.)

Now, fully restored and operational after several fatalities and resulting closures and reopenings, you can take one of two cars - either Olivet or Sinai - up or down the hill, or for an extra 25 cents, both.

It's been on my Bucket List for LA since March 2010, when a friend told me about it during my first serious trip to LA to try to find a job here.

After taking a tour of Union Station, Sunday afternoon seemed the perfect time to do it.

Behold the adventure in the video below:

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