California Cultural and Historical Endowment project: Angels Flight Railroad
A 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.
owners ran Angels Flight™ from 1901 until 1962
when the city, branding all the
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
Welborne 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.
Angels Flight™ restoration a 3-phase process
The CCHE awarded the Angels Flight™ Railway Foundation $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