Funicular fans have swayed Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who has now taken up the cause of trying to reopen the stubby Angels Flight railway on Bunker Hill—or, at least, of figuring out what has to happen in order for the two railcars to operate once more. City News Service reports that, at a Metro Board meeting today, the mayor will introduce a motion that, if approved, would have the board conduct a study on the best ways to get the railroad up and running again. The board would then have 60 days to pull that together, including "a summary of state and federal safety findings pertaining to Angels Flight."
Neither the mayor nor the Metro Board are holding Angels Flight back. According to the nonprofit that's responsible for operating the railway, federal regulators are the problem here. The sticking point seems to be whether or not a stairway alongside Angels Flight needs to be constructed as a safety precaution. The railway has had many safety issues and accidents over the past several years: an accident in 2001 that resulted in one death and multiple injuries shuttered the railroad until 2010, which reopened only to be shut down again for an unsafe wheel in 2011, and then again in 2013, after both cars went off the rails.
But the recently-elected president of the nonprofit Angels Flight Railway says that while his group is drawing up plans for the walkway, he doesn't think it's the best solution to the regulators' concerns. However, he hasn't been able to get those regulators to return his calls so he can suggest alternatives. Meanwhile, the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates railways, "won't budge" and is firm about getting the walkway built before Angels Flight can run again, he says. This seems to suggest that, despite claims that Angels Flight is technically in top condition to operate, the little railroad and its two 1901 railcars, Olivet and Sinai, are likely to remain motionless for a while. Hopefully, in about 60 days, Metro will have some great ideas about how to get them rolling again.
· Find a way to reopen 114-year-old Angels Flight funicular, says Mayor Eric Garcetti [CNS]
· Can Bunker Hill's Angels Flight Funicular Just Reopen Already? [Curbed LA]