Posts Tagged ‘railway’
A Private Tour Can See Angels Flight But Not Ride
It seems that the quick and meaningful glimpse of Angels Flight railway in the critically acclaimed and much appreciated new film LA LA LAND is as close to enjoying a ride on the tiny railroad (298′) as we can expect to get in the near future. The long and interesting history of this funicular (def: two cars counterbalanced on a railway track pulled by rope or cable) is at a standstill now awaiting approval by state agencies to return to business. In fact, the use of the railway in Hollywood film production is apparently included in the prohibition so the LA LA LAND filmmakers were lucky to get their shots completed. However, there is pressure to return the fully-repaired and inspected Angels Flight to public use – perhaps this year. Our private tour of Los Angeles always makes a stop at Angels Flight when we arrive in downtown Los Angeles to see the city’s historic core and recent renovations that are part of its ongoing metamorphosis. The railway was very much a part of the beginning of the resurgence of downtown Los Angeles when it was dismantled and moved from its original 1901 location (shown above in this archival black & white photograph) to its current location a half block away. The old transportation system is a cherished look back at earlier (and slower) times. We hope that we will once again ride the wooden cars (Sinai and Olivet) with our guests as a part of their sightseeing in and around Los Angeles with us.
Our Private Tour Guests Get to See Angels Flight
but Do Not Get to Ride
Angels Flight is a remarkable tiny railroad that has moved people up and down Bunker Hill since 1901. True, the original location of the railway was developed in the late 1960s and the entire operation was moved nearby to continue its service. The two cars, Sinai and Olivet, save commuters a steep climb and descent from the lower downtown area to the top of a the busy financial district. For those who like numerical details the grade is 33% and runs 315 feet. Our TBT (throwback Thursday) vintage color photo is definitely mid-century (20th) and features the 3rd Street tunnel in dowtown Los Angeles (DTLA). Despite having transferred more passengers per mile than any other railroad the tiny railway has had its share of problems, both engineering and financial. Cleared for safety and ready to return to operation at this time money is the significant issue keeping Angels Flight closed. To remedy this a fundraiser has been organized on behalf of this historic feature of our city. On Thursday, November 5th (7-11pm) at the beautifully restored Million Dollar Theater in L.A.’s Broadway District, there will be a fascinating program featuring the classic noir film M by Joseph Losey in which Angels Flight is seen. There will also be a presentation by a local historian talking about Angels Flight through the years illustrated with rare photographs and film clips. You can be sure we will be prompting our private Los Angeles tour guests in town at that time to take advantage of this opportunity to learn from real historians about the early days of L.A. and this amazing piece of its story while helping to return to service the little railroad that could.
Our Los Angeles Tour Guests Wish
They Could Ride
The world’s shortest railway (300 ft.), Angels Flight in downtown Los Angeles, has a long and interesting history and when it is in full operation is a remarkable experience for Los Angelenos as well as our Los Angeles tour guests enjoying a private, custom tour of the city. Built more than 100 years ago to provide transportation up and down the very steep (33% grade) Bunker Hill neighborhood downtown the tiny railway proved to be both a reasonable conveyance and a city attraction. The original railway was displaced by downtown redevelopment and moved a half a block over but still serves the same dual purpose – getting people up and down the hill and attracting visitors and railroad buffs. Sadly, despite changes in ownership and modern engineering the little railroad that could suddenly could not. Mostly small accidents brought regulatory scrutiny to the system and it was closed indefinitely in 2011. Every effort is being made to return the two railway cars, Olivet and Sinai, back into service. We still visit the location but are unable to have our guests enjoy the ride up and down Bunker Hill.
While California wrestles with the expense and technology of high speed rail, in downtown Los Angeles we can stop with our private luxury tour guests at Angel’s Flight, the shortest (and possibly slowest) railway in the world. Measuring 298 feet long at a 33% grade, the funicular saves considerable effort for anyone walking between Hill Street (below) and California Plaza (above). The two railway cars, Sinai and Olivet, make the trip throughout the day, every day, between 6:45 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. A steep hillside block for only 50¢ — we say that’s a great bargain. It’s fun and scenic, too. We are only too happy to usher our sightseeing guests out of our custom van and into this historic train car for the short ride. We know they will be talking about their Angel’s Flight ride for the remainder of their tour with us to Hollywood and Beverly Hills.