Everybody's favorite funicular, Angels Flight, has been closed for nearly two years, having been shut down for safety reasons shortly after reopening following a long shutdown for safety reasons, but now supporters say those concerns have been addressed and the tiny railway should get up and running again already. After a serious accident caused one death and several injuries in 2001, the shortest railway in the world was shut down until 2010, then shut down again for a worn wheel in 2011, and finally closed this most recent time in September 2013 after one of the two black-and-orange railcars (known as Olivet and Sinai) went off the tracks (there were no injuries that time). The long-time president of the operation, which runs between Hill Street and California Plaza, is no longer in charge and there is no replacement, the City News Service says.
After the 2013 derailment, the National Transportation Safety Board released a report revealing that operators had used a tree branch to hold down a start button and bypass a safety feature and the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates public utilities and railways, demanded that a walkway be built alongside the tracks before it could reopen. But a new petition says the Los Angeles Fire Department and "numerous licensed professional engineers" have declared that the "safety issues have been addressed," and that the railroad has been ready to roll safety-wise since early 2014.
Angels Flight fans Kim Cooper and Richard Schave, LA historians and operators of the Esotouric tours, have launched the petition on Change.org asking Mayor Eric Garcetti to "help cut the red tape in Sacramento and San Francisco" so that Olivet and Sinai can run up Bunker Hill once more. It's received 772 signatures since its creation on Monday. Schave says that in the years since the railroad's been shuttered, the cars have fallen victim to vandalism, and predicts that they'll continue to deteriorate unless they're put back into use.
Angels Flight is beloved not just for its novelty factor (though that is a big part of its charm), but also for being one of the last remaining connections that modern LA has to the now non-existent neighborhood of Bunker Hill, which was razed in the 1960s as part of a redevelopment project that took out all of the old Victorian houses (used by then as boarding houses and low-income housing) and dropped all those skyscrapers down.
· Angels Flight supporters circulate petition calling for reopening historic downtown L.A. railway [CNS]
· Save Angels Flight [Change.org]
· Nine Years Later, Angels Flight Opening to Riders [Curbed LA]
· Will DTLA's Angels Flight Funicular Ever Be Able to Reopen? [Curbed LA]