Downtowners got to ride, or just take photos, of Angels Flight which was open today for a special event
Per an announcement this afternoon from the group overseeing Angels Flight, the long-closed Bunker Hill funicular will open early Monday morning, a much earlier date than that recent April timeline. But if you were wandering around downtown today, you could have ridden the tiny railway, which was open to those attending a mystery literature convention and anyone else who wanted to pay a quarter to ride the funicular, closed since a 2001 accident that killed a New Jersey tourist. As it turned out, it was a group of tourists that took the inaugural ride today at 10 am, a 30-something man from San Diego, and his parents, who were visiting from Minnesota. "They were thrilled,” said photographer Leonard Auslender, who was there to document the event for the Angels Flight Railway Foundation. "The son just wanted to show his parents Angels Flight. They didn't know it was open...They were the first people [to ride] in nine years." Also riding today: Longtime fans of the railway, including Michael Connelly who wrote the book Angels Flight, and was taking part in the "Left Coast Crime" convention (hence the event at the railway today). Given the 2001 accident, we asked him about safety upgrades, which include a four-part braking system (prior to the accident, there was only a one-part braking system). "It could launch a rocket!" he said of the powerful braking system.
Convention goer Brian Finnegan, from Tustin, California, was also all aglow about the railway. He'd last ridden Angels Flight in 2000, and said the cars looked just the same. "LA's finally realizing what it has," he said of the restoration. Angels Flight's two cars, Olivet and Sinai, were still riding up and down the hill this afternoon, but the railway will close down again until Monday at 6:45 am. Expected guests at the opening ceremony, taking place at 9 am, include Christopher Eddy Cherryholmes, great-great-great grandson of Colonel James Ward Eddy, who created Angels Flight in 1901. UPDATE*: The soft-opening continues...as of Sunday, it's still open to the public.
· Angels Flight Opening by April 15th [Curbed LA]