Saturday, October 20, 2012

Angels Flight, Los Angeles - June 1964

Los Angeles is a city that is constantly rebuilding itself, so there aren't a lot of artifacts from the early 1900's. One of my favorite remnants of "old L.A." is Angels Flight, a funicular railroad that first opened in 1901. It is said to be the world's shortest railway!

Angels Flight (that's right, there's no apostrophe in the word "Angels") is seen here as it glides up (and down) the very steep hill between Olive Street and Hill Street. There are two cars, the "Sinai" and the "Olivet", that are pulled via cables up and down the two-block stretch. They used to run very close to many apartments and offices that shared the hill, but those buildings were razed in the 1950's as part of an effort to modernize the city's image.

Angels Flight was removed five years after these photos were taken, but the original cars and the decorative orange gates (one can be seen at the bottom of the hill) were saved while the property was developed. 27 years later, new track was built half a block south of where it used to be, and the little railroad reopened on February 24, 1996. It closed again after a fatal accident; new modifications and safety measures were added, and it finally reopened in March of 2010. For a mere 50 cents, you can ride Angels Flight today!


D ticket said...

I remember seeing this train in The Glenn Miller Story with Jimmy Stewart, when he kept going back to pawn his trombone.

TokyoMagic! said...

I think they might have also shown Angels Flight in the Burt Lancaster and Yvonne DeCarlo film, "Criss Cross."

I had always wanted to ride Angels Flight and I was finally able to right after it reopened in 1996.

Now your post has got me thinking.....maybe the PeopleMover at Disneyland will reopen 27 years after it was closed down. Hey, we would only have 10 more years to wait!

K. Martinez said...

Both of these images are incredibly beautiful views. I love vintage L.A.

Nancy said...

These are so cool. We are lucky enough to still have two operating here in Pittsburgh, which is a city of hills, and thru the years we have had about 17 inclines here. I used the ride the Mon Incline every day when we lived in Mt Washington on my way home from work.

Thanks for sharing these :-D

Rich T. said...

I hope to ride Angels Flight someday. It's nice when a property gets redeveloped and part of its history's retained.

Nanook said...

Angels Flight was a great thrill - especially as a young child. It's nice to see it back up and running. Thanks, Major.

Pilsner Panther said...

Major, of course I love the early Disneyland photos and I'm a long-time fan of your page, but your "side trips" to other places are always very rewarding. Keep 'em coming!

Caspian said...


I'm excited about the PeopleMover returning in ten years. Just where will the track end up when it's rebuilt a half a block to the south?


Major Pepperidge said...

D ticket, you are right, Angels Flight does appear in that movie!

TokyoMagic!, Wikipedia gave a list of a number of films, including Criss Cross (which I haven't seen). I don't know if you heard the hubbub about Tony Baxter announcing that the Peoplemover would NEVER be coming back because there were too many problems that are unsolvable.

K. Martinez, ME TOO!

Nancy, wow, Pittsburgh had 17 incline railways? Amazing.

Rich T, it's a fun thing to do if you happen to be doing stuff in downtown LA. Maybe you can make of day of it and go to Olvera Street, Chinatown, the Bradbury Building, etc!

Nanook, I was really saddened when it closed for a second time (I never rode it when it was in its original location), but at least it is back for everyone to enjoy.

Caspian, if only that could happen! At least we would still have a Peoplemover.

TokyoMagic! said...

Caspian, they could build a PeopleMover system between the parking structure (and other parking areas) and the main entrance! That is what they were going to do when they were planning to build Westcot next to Disneyland. Instead we got crappy DCA and no PeopleMovers. :-(

Anonymous said...

Your photos for this posting have vanished!

Major Pepperidge said...

Anon... weird, I must have accidentally deleted them. Thanks for letting me know, I've fixed the links.