Back in March, the operators of the historic Angels Flight funicular in downtown Los Angeles announced that the iconic attraction, closed since a 2013 derailment, would re-open by Labor Day of this year. Yesterday, the Angels Flight Development Company, a new partnership organization overseeing the railway’s $5 million repair and restoration, announced that it will re-open a bit ahead of schedule – this Thursday, August 31.
A story in the Downtown News yesterday explained that the restoration project has included “an overhaul of the motors, systems and safety features,” as well as new orange and black paint. According to the Downtown News story, the debut date depends on final approval from the California Public Utilities Commission, but “crews have been doing regular testing of the railways cables and brakes in recent weeks,” so the approval is expected to go smoothly.
This is actually the second big re-opening for Angels Flight in the last 10 years. The railway was moved to its current location across the street from Grand Central Market in 1996, but an accident in which one car slid down the track and rammed the other, killing a passenger, closed it for nine years. It reopened in 2010, but was shuttered again after the 2013 incident (in which no one was injured).
At that time, according to Downtown News:
“A subsequent blistering report from the National Transportation Safety Board found numerous shortfalls in the operation and management of the railway.
The CPUC refused to allow Angels Flight to reopen until a variety of repairs and safety steps were completed, including the installation of an emergency stairway. During the years it was shuttered, the Angels Flight Railway Foundation still paid nearly $6,000 a month for maintenance and insurance.
Crews installed the walkway on June 26….Additionally, motion detectors were placed on the truss, and new closed-circuit cameras were installed.”
When the now fully-refurbished railway re-opens next week, tickets will be $1 per ride (double the previous price)…but Metro TAP card holders will still pay just $.50. The Angels Flight Development Company, a partnership among the nonprofit Angels Flight Railway Foundation, ACS Infrastructure and the engineering firm Sener, will handle daily management and operations through a 30-year contract with the Foundation.