Sunday, June 25, 2017

This Angel's Getting Its Wings Back

Our little miniature incline railway on Bunker Hill in Downtown LA, known as "Angels Flight," has had a tough time of it in the 116 years since it was built.

circa 2012

It hasn't been consistently open and operational at least since I first heard about it seven years ago. It was closed in March 2010 when I first tried to ride it, open in February 2012 when I finally did ride it, closed again seemingly for good in 2013, and still closed—officials citing safety concerns because of a pesky derailment or two.

circa May 2017

Appearing abandoned, the twin cars of the funicular were left exposed to the elements and fell victim to vandals, who left their tag behind—and, as a result, created a sense of urgency to protect them from further damage.

It was shortly thereafter that Mayor Garcetti vowed to reopen Angels Flight by Labor Day 2017—and it appears that he's making good on his promise.

Scaffolding is a good sign, as is a good coat of white primer paint.

It's a spooky effect, though temporary.

But Angels Flight, by nature, is ever-evolving. It's changed hands between seven different private owner/operators since 1901. It was moved a half a block down from its original location to where it stands now, across Hill Street from Grand Central Market. And while it was once a traditional funicular with its tracks laid directly on the grade of the hill, it now runs along an elevated rail.

Of course, we have plenty of movies and TV shows to thank for keeping Angels Flight in people's hearts and minds—even after all this time, even if they've never come to LA or tried to ride it themselves.

But I've been keeping my eye on it for more than seven years now—and especially in the four years since it last ran. It's not much of a commuter solution for me, but riding it up and then right back down is a major gigglefest.

The sight of those two cars, the top station, and the bottom archway now in that white primer is just heavenly. That means this "flight of angels" will be back soon enough.

Related Posts:
Up and Down Bunker Hill on Angels Flight
Photo Essay: Bates Motel, Vacant and Whitewashed