On the Road and In Your Backyard

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Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!

 

Today, pictures from valued commenter 🐾BillinGlendaleCA.

Angels Flight
(The Shortest Railroad in the World)

In the late 19th century and early 20th century Bunker Hill was the fashionable residential neighborhood towering to the west of the downtown Los Angeles as it grew south from the Spanish plaza. As with other neighborhoods of Los Angeles at the time there were steps to get people up to their mansions. In 1901 Colonel J.W. Eddy figured he could make some coin extracting some coin from these wealthy folk by building a narrow gauge funicular railway up Bunker Hill at the corner of 3rd and Hill streets It was next to the newly opened 3rd Street Tunnel(it runs under Bunker Hill from Hill Street to Figueroa Street), crossing over Clay Street before reaching Olive Street at the top of it’s run. It seems that short rail lines were all the rage at the time since 1905 saw the opening of the little remembered Court Flight between Broadway and Hill streets in the current Civic Center(across from the red brick courthouse). Angels Flight has two rail cars, Sinai and Olivet, that operate in opposing directions and originally moved on a single cable. Angels Flight operated at this location for 68 years seeing the decline of the neighborhood as the wealthy moved further west to neighborhood such as Angelino Heights and mid-Wilshire. The stately mansions turned into boarding houses and hotels. In the postwar era, the city decided that they needed to redevelop Bunker Hill and Angels Flight was closed in May of 1969. I was fortunate to ride Angels Flight in it’s original location on a Cub Scout trip to downtown in early 1969. The cars, the ticket plaza at the top and the entrance arch at the bottom were put into storage for the “brief period”(2 years they said at the time) while they relocated the tracks a half of a block to the south. This “brief period” turned out to be 27 years. Angels Flight re-opened in 1996 and instead of transporting the wealthy to their stately mansions it now transported office workers from their offices in the skyscrapers that replaced the stately mansions. In 2001 there was a serious accident on the railroad that killed an elderly German tourist and led to Angeles Flight being closed once again. It reopened in 2008 to only have another accident in 2013(this time without any deaths or major injuries) close it down again. It recently reopened on August 31, 2017 so I decided to take a spin on it.

Upper plaza and ticket window.

Taken on 2017-09-07

Los Angeles, CA

This is were you buy your ticket for the trip, if you riding up the hill you pay here after you ride up. It’s the same building that served this purpose from 1901 to 1969 though it did change a bit over the years. The cars and the stations received a fresh coat of paint as part of the latest renovation.

Inside one of the cars.

Taken on 2017-09-07

Los Angeles, CA

This is inside one of the cars(I’m not sure if it’s Sinai or Olivet) looking through the car and down the tracks from the top.

About half way down.

Taken on 2017-09-07

Los Angeles, CA

This is about half way down the hill and you can see that the tracks move out to the side to let the ascending car move past.

About 3/4er’s the way down.

Taken on 2017-09-07

Los Angeles, CA

Here, the other car has passed and both cars are making the transition from the duel track to the single track.

At the Hill street station.

Taken on 2017-09-07

Los Angeles, CA

This picture really gives a good idea how long the railroad is, with the car I’m in at the bottom and the other car at the top.

Station at Hill Street.

Taken on 2017-09-07

Los Angeles, CA

This is the Hill Street station and is right across from the Grand Central Market where you can get some nice eats.

Car waiting to go up.

Taken on 2017-09-07

Los Angeles, CA

Here is a car at the Hill Street Station waiting to go up. The concrete buildings in the background is where Angels Flight originally was.

 

Thank you so much 🐾BillinGlendaleCA, do send us more when you can.

 

Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.

 

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27 replies
  1. 1
    Amir Khalid says:

    That reminds me of the Penang Hill Railway, which visitors to Penang should not miss. People live on the Hill, so the funicular train can get crowded at rush hour.

  2. 2
    NotMax says:

    Whew. No shortage of blinding tangerine paint, eh wot?

  3. 3
    rikyrah says:

    I have never heard of this, Bill. Thanks for the pictures😄

  4. 4
  5. 5
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Almost as good as TRAINS!

  6. 6
    satby says:

    Looks a lot like the set up at Lookout Mountain. The Incline Railway is a great way to get to the top.

  7. 7
    satby says:

    @NotMax: my favorite color! I think it looks cheery and fun.

  8. 8
    Schlemazel says:

    Spiffy! THe folks in Duluth, MN had a similar set up though it was not as decorated it ran probably half again as far as this. We are going to be out there this fall and I want to see this one.

  9. 9
    Suzanne says:

    I am in Washington for a conference and I brought Mr. Suzanne a couple of days in advance so we could do some touring. We just got tickets for today at the Museum of African-American History and Culture! SO EXCITED OH MY GOD.

  10. 10
    J R in WV says:

    There’s a funicular in Balboa that runs from the Riverside up to the mountaintop where there’s a park and a residential neighborhood above the city.

    I’ll send a Bilbao series soon.

  11. 11
    bystander says:

    Great pics, again, BiG! Thanks!

  12. 12
    Argiope says:

    @satby: I love how zippy it is against the blue sky. Thanks for the photos, Bill & Alain!

  13. 13
    Waratah says:

    Than you Bill, Michael Connelly included this in one of his books and I always wanted to see it

  14. 14
    Laura says:

    @Suzanne: please report out on the Museum when time allows.

  15. 15

    @Amir Khalid: The old rail cars looked pretty similar to the cars on Angels Flight.

  16. 16

    @NotMax:

    No shortage of blinding tangerine paint, eh wot?

    I guess they didn’t want folk to miss it.

  17. 17

    @rikyrah: Guess you didn’t see LaLaLand, I’ve heard its in the the movie. Angels Flight was one of the first sites designated as a historical landmark in Los Angeles.

  18. 18

    Cool.

    ‘Funicular’ is a word I sometimes find myself randomly saying.

  19. 19

    @Baud: Sure beats taking the stairs up that hill after lunch.

    @OzarkHillbilly: I took one of the big trains to get to downtown LA.

  20. 20

    @satby: That one looks like it quite a bit longer than Angels Flight which is less than a football field in length.

    @Schlemazel: You’re coming out to LA? Enquiring jackals want to know.

  21. 21

    @J R in WV: Only an office plaza at the top of Angels Flight.

    @bystander: Thanks.

  22. 22

    @Argiope: It’s quite a contrast, I’m sure the orange will fade a bit as time goes on.

    @Waratah: It’s been in quite a few books, movies and TV that take place in LA.

  23. 23
  24. 24
    chris says:

    @Waratah: Thank you! Harry Bosch was poking at my memory.

  25. 25
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    @chris: Angel’s Flight, my favorite Harry Bosch book. I was in LA several times in the 2000’s, but the Angels Flight was closed. But I went there anyway and walked up the hill and back and ate at the Grand Central Market in homage of Mr. Bosch. Thanks for the photos, BillinGlendaleCA.

  26. 26

    @Cheryl from Maryland: Thanks, I’ve had lunch at Grand Central Market many times. There was a place called “Mexican Food”(yes, that was the name of the booth) that made great tortas. Last time I walked through, they were no longer there.

  27. 27
    Anne Laurie says:

    @NotMax:

    No shortage of blinding tangerine paint, eh wot?

    As Bill’s photos show, the color looks better in that distinctive California sunshine.

    Since I grew up in the Northeast, I could never understand the appeal of stucco, which IMO always looked like a dirty coat of spray-on insulation. Then I visited San Francisco for the first time, and the stucco really *popped*, especially since it was mostly trimmed with bright paint colors. Told the Spousal Unit that it looked like the houses were all wearing tanks & shorts — not a good look in a drearier clime, but quite appropriate in the sunshine!

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