Thursday, March 28, 2013

Angels Flight, Downtown Los Angeles

Opened in 1901, Angels Flight was used to carry the wealthy neighborhood locals up and down the steep incline (of roughly 33%) of Bunker Hill for the price of one cent. Its patrons found it much easier to make it back up from the business district at the bottom, to the ornate Victorian homes at the top using the railway. The two cars, named Sinai and Olivet (biblical references, perhaps to Mount Sinai and Mount Olivet), counterbalance each other – as one travels down the tracks, the other moves parallel going up.-Couple of Travels

At its turn-of-the-century opening, the bustling Bunker Hill neighborhood clearly enjoyed the convenient transportation – Angels Flight was ridden 2,000 times on opening day alone!
After 27 years in storage, the funicular was rebuilt and reopened on February 24, 1996 a half block south of the original site.

 Although the original cars, Sinai and Olivet, were used, a new track and haulage system was designed and built, a redesign which had unfortunate consequences five years later. As rebuilt, the funicular was 91 meters (298 feet) long on an approximately 33-percent incline. Car movement was controlled by an operator inside the upper station house, who was responsible for visually determining that the track and vehicles were clear for movement, closing the platform gates, starting the cars moving, monitoring the operation of the funicular cars, observing car stops at both stations, and collecting fares from passengers. The cars themselves did not carry any staff members.

 A sailor was killed on August 31, 1945 when he attempted to walk up the tracks while the line was in operation. He was struck by one car and then crushed by the other.

On February 1, 2001, Angels Flight had a serious accident that killed a passenger, Leon Praport age 83, and injured seven others, including Praport's wife, Lola. The accident occurred when car Sinai, approaching the upper station, reversed direction and accelerated downhill in an uncontrolled fashion to strike car Olivet near the lower terminus.

Apparently, riders of this amazing piece of history claim that Olivet car is haunted by the crushed Sailor as well as the 83 year old passenger from 2001. They show themselves as an apparitions to guests of this historical landmark.

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