California Cultural and Historical Endowment
Angels Flight Railroad
has seen a tremendous rebirth since businesses
fled for the airy, and cheaper, suburbs after
World War II. Today
residents have planted roots in the historic
district and at the end of this summer a singular Los Angeles
landmark, the Angels Flight™ Railway, “the
shortest railway in the world,” will reopen
there. The historic urban railway’s
rehabilitation is possible, in part, thanks to a
grant from the California Cultural and Historical
and Sinai, the recently-restored Angels
Railway cars in storage, awaiting their return to
Bunker Hill at the end of this summer.
[Photo courtesy of Angels Flight™ Railway
steep funicular, the long-popular Angels Flight™
once again will shuttle passengers between the
city’s nineteen-twenties era lofts and condos at
the bottom of Bunker Hill and a completely
reincarnated destination spot at the top that
includes the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Museum
of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the Colburn School of
the Performing Arts, and the nearby Los
Angeles Central Library.
Flight spared Bunker Hill bulldozers, Los
Angelenos “cry” for preservation
of the exterior of the Angels Flight Railway's
100-year-old Station House at California Plaza
is nearing completion.
courtesy of Angels Flight™ Railway Company]
owners ran Angels Flight™ from 1901 until 1962
when the city, branding all the
land as “urban blight,” bought the railway.
The city kept the funicular running until May 1969
when engineers dismantled and stored its two
slanted cars, Olivet
’s Victorians and other turn of the century
treasures weren’t so lucky: bulldozers already
had flattened the rest of the neighborhood.
has always been a hue and cry from the public for
Angels Flight™ to be preserved and remain in
operation,” says Angels Flight™ Railway
Foundation president and project manager John H.
Welborne. “Los Angelenos love this
unique and charming
icon.” In January 2007, Los Angeles Mayor
Antonio Villaraigosa wrote to the Foundation’s
Chairman of the Board Dennis Luna that, “the
distance the railway travels may be short, but its
long suit is its charm, its authenticity, its
historic connection, and the literal connection it
makes for the downtown community…”
explains that, in 1995, concerned citizens formed
the non-profit Foundation and, in 1996, reopened
the railway, which provided more than 4 million
passenger trips between 1996 and 2001. A
2001 failure of the new drive equipment that had
been manufactured and installed in 1995 destroyed
that machine and damaged the two historic cars.
Angels Flight™ has been closed since then.
Beginning in 2004, the “Campaign for Angels
Flight™” has focused on raising funds to
restore the railway. Welborne reports that the
current restoration includes new safety features,
and “an entirely new drive and control
system.” “We are expecting to reopen at the
end of the summer,” he says.
Flight™ restoration a 3-phase process
complete restoration work on the Angels
Railway's 100-year-old lower station on Hill
courtesy of Angels Flight™ Railway
CCHE awarded the Angels Flight™ Railway
$996,350 from Round I to aid in the
third, and final, phase of the railway’s
restoration. The CCHE grant is matching $1.2
million in private funds that the non-profit
Foundation has already raised. The total cost of
the Angels Flight™ restoration is $2.2 million.
Angels Flight™ has involved three phases. Phase
I, repairing the badly-damaged cars, Olivet
was completed several years ago. Phase II,
restoring the exteriors of the Station House at
the top and the Arch at the bottom of the hill,
was largely completed at the beginning of this
year. The third and final phase involves the
manufacture and installation of an entirely new
drive system for the funicular’s cable, plus
state-of-the-art safety improvements.
The new Angels Flight™ contains 60% original
material from its first life, which includes the
railcars, the Station House, the Arch on Hill Street, and the (now unused) gear mechanism from the
more information about the Angels
Flight™ Railway, please
contact John H. Welborne, President, at (323)
935-1914 or email at email@example.com.
more information about the California
Cultural and Historic Endowment, please
contact Executive Officer Diane Matsuda at (916)
651-8768 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.