Angels Flight: The World’s Shortest Railway Will Reopen in 2017

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Angels Flight is a historic landmark in the Bunker Hill district of downtown Los Angeles. The narrow gauge funicular railway dubbed the “Shortest Railway in the World”, went into operation in 1901. It’s two funicular cars (named Sinai and Olivet) ferried people up and down the steep slope between Olive and Hill streets. With a travel time of only one minute and a distance of 315 feet, the journey was over quick.

In 1969 Angels Flight suffered its first major setback when the area around Bunker Hill underwent major urbanization. The two cars were shipped off and stored for what everyone thought would be only a few years. After staggering 27 years, the railway was re-opened and is now located a half block away from its original destination.

Angel Flight at its original location – the corner of 3rd and Hill St. (c) whitewall buick/Flickr

Since 1996 the cars of Angels Flight transported thousands of people up and down the steep hill. A major accident, with one dead and several people injured, forced the railroad to shut down until the drive and safety system was replaced. After the reopening in 2010, everything went smooth until another accident in 2013 forced the Angels Flight to shut down again. One car derailed, although there were no injuries, state regulators shut down this iconic landmark until the issues got resolved.

View from the lower station
Angels Flight
Angels Flight
View from the lower station
Angels Flight
World’s Shortest Railway

Unfortunately, the railroad is shut down ever since and as of right now you are not able to ride the funicular anymore.

The Angels Flight funicular was recently featured in the Golden Globe winning movie La La Land. After more than 3 years of closure, Angels Flight will resume its operation on Labor Day 2017 – a holiday in September. Metro Tap Cardholders will receive a 50% fare discount for the next three years.

Angels Flight
Olive Street Station
Angels Flight
View from the upper station

If you are a tourist in LA, get a Metro Tap Card at any of their vending machines. The card only costs a dollar and can be reused over and over again on LA’s metro system and it will give you the 50% discount. Metro is a great way to explore the city if you are without a car and the network is getting expanded massively.

Visit the Angels Flight website for more information. If you can’t wait to get onboard one of the cars, don’t trespass! Go to Craig Sauers website and have a 3D-Tour of one of the cars.

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