World's shortest railroad chugs back to life Angels Flight railway is seen in the Bunker Hill section of Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. At a news conference Wednesday, March 1, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the railroad's antique wooden cars should be back in service by Labor Day. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
World's shortest railroad chugs back to life
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Angels Flight, the beloved little railroad in Los Angeles, had its cameo in the hit musical "La La Land." Now it's almost ready for its close-up.
 
The narrow-gauge railroad that for more than a century hauled people 298 feet up and down the city's steep Bunker Hill was shut down in 2013. That was after a series of mishaps, including a crash that killed a rider.
 
Now, Mayor Eric Garcetti has said those issues are being resolved. The railroad's antique wooden cars, named Sinai and Olivet, should be back in service by Labor Day. They'll be operated by a public-private partnership. It is between the nonprofit Angels Flight Foundation and the private company ACS Infrastructure Development.
 
"As anyone who has seen 'La La Land' can tell you, dreams do still come true here in Los Angeles," Garcetti said as dozens of cheering Angels Flight fans crowded together to hear his announcement March 1.
 
The railroad's resurrection has been planned for months. But it may have gotten an unexpected boost. That is when moviegoers saw Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling riding happily in one of the cars in "La La Land." Many took to social media to ask why they couldn't ride, too.
 
That scene was just one of several film shoots the funicular has appeared in, said John Wellborne. He is past chairman of the Angels Flight Railway Foundation. But, he added with a chuckle, "It got a lot more attention than we anticipated."
 
Meanwhile, some work still needs to be done before the cars can move again.
 
That includes upgrading its funicular system. That is where the two cars' counterbalancing weights allow one to be pulled up safely while the other is lowered. An emergency ramp must also be installed next to the railroad tracks. If the cars break down in mid-run, as they did in 2013, firefighters won't have to rescue the passengers this time.
 
Despite its recent woes, Angels Flight, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, holds a special place in the hearts of LA residents of all ages. They will tell you countless stories of coming downtown to ride it during their childhood.
 
"I was 5 years old," said Ron Lozano, who still vividly recalls the short trip as being his first thrill ride. "I didn't get to Disneyland until I was 17.
 
Angels Flight opened on New Year's Eve 1901, hauling residents from Bunker Hill's stately Victorian mansions down to one of the city's best shopping districts. Rides cost a penny.
 
It operated until 1969 when it was shut down as the neighborhood underwent redevelopment.
 
It reopened in 1996, just as the area was beginning to undergo a renaissance. For the next few years, it carried thousands of tourists and office workers from the skyscrapers, museums and fashionable hotels that sprung up on Bunker Hill to the Grand Central Market below.
 
It was shut down after a catastrophic system failure sent one car crashing into the other in 2001, killing a passenger.
 
Reopened in 2010, it was closed three years later after a derailment stranded riders.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why would someone want to take such a short ride?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (8)
  • nicks6-har
    3/09/2017 - 12:46 p.m.

    The picture looks like a mix between a roller coaster and a train going down the rail.

  • arianam-
    3/13/2017 - 08:43 a.m.

    It can take them to where ever they want to go in that are, so the passengers don't have to walk. I don't know about now, but in the passage it says that in 1901, rides costed a penny. So it doesn't cost much to take the short ride anyway.

  • eharlan-dav
    3/16/2017 - 08:03 p.m.

    In response to "World's shortest railroad chugs back to life," I agree that the railroad should be reopened. One reason I agree is that it was a historic place that many people who had experienced it would tell you many stories about it and how great it is. It says in the article "Despite its recent woes, Angels Flight, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, holds a special place in the hearts of LA residents of all ages. They will tell you countless stories of coming downtown to ride it during their childhood." Even though it had killed one rider before it was closed, the mayor had said it went through changes to fix all the kinks in the system.

  • handroh-ver
    3/17/2017 - 10:11 a.m.

    It's is crazy on how they open it to use for the move called 'La La Land " but they closed it before because of its misshaped and it crashed and killed a person (passenger).

  • blaisep-smi
    3/17/2017 - 12:53 p.m.

    Someone would want to take such a short ride, because it was featured in the movie "La La Land" and people saw Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling riding it. It holds a special place in the hearts of LA residents of all ages.

  • paigep-smi1
    3/20/2017 - 02:56 p.m.

    Most people say "No Thanks" to taking a short ride but others such as historians will. This train is old its a part of this towns history in fact most people dont relize but this is history renewing its self. Most people love seeing history from the eye, and thats what this does.

  • emilyb2-bur
    4/10/2017 - 12:51 p.m.

    Someone might want to take a short ride because they just want to experience that short railroad and see how it feels to be on a railroad and how it works. In my opinion, someone may want to see how a railroad is like or maybe since it's the shortest one in the world they want to experience the history of the olden days on that railroad and how it felt .

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