Downtown LA's historic Angels Flight gets OK to reopen

File photo of Angels Flight in downtown Los Angeles, Calif., circa 1961.
File photo of Angels Flight in downtown Los Angeles, Calif., circa 1961.
the toe stubber/Flickr CC

The historic Angels Flight funicular in downtown Los Angeles will reopen Monday, more than nine years after being closed, operators announced today.

The hillside track connecting Hill Street near the Grand Central Market to California Plaza on Grand Avenue has been dubbed the "shortest railway in the world.''

It was ruled safe by the California Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday.

"This is good news for all the people who were tired walking up and down that hill,'' said John H. Welborne, president of the Angels Flight Railway Foundation.

Angels Flight will operate from 6:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. The fare is 25 cents.

"Passengers might encounter occasional temporary slow service and maybe even a daytime closure'' during the first "couple of weeks'' if "our vendors want to do any testing or fine-tuning to maximize efficiency,'' Welborne said.

"We apologize in advance if there are any short service interruptions,'' Welborne said.

Angels Flight was shut down Feb. 1, 2001, after one of the rail cars slid downhill on the tracks and collided with a vehicle below it. The accident killed an 83-year-old man and injured seven other people.

Commission staff approved the safety processing paperwork in August. A request to reopen the railway was placed on the agenda of the Nov. 20 commission meeting, when the paperwork was approved, Welborne said.

In December, the commission staff requested that gates be placed the ends of the railway cars, which were added by February. The commission announced Wednesday that it had given final approval for the railway to reopen.

Angels Flight first opened in 1901 to take passengers on one-minute trips up and down Bunker Hill. It was dismantled in 1969 but rebuilt and reopened in 1996, a half-block south of the original site.

The railway still uses its original cars from 1901, named Olivet and Sinai.