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Old footage shows Angels Flight railway in its prime

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See the famous funicular through the decades

Black and white photo of Angels Flight LA Public Library

With news breaking today that private company ACS Infrastructure Development, Inc., in partnership with the city of Los Angeles, will have the beloved Angels Flight railway up and running by Labor Day, we’ve rounded up some footage of the 116-year-old funicular in its prime.

First, some raw footage of the railway shot in the 1940s. In the first shot, it’s easy to see that the railway has been moved from it’s original location next to the Third Street tunnel. Once, the railway connected Hill and Olive, but was taken apart in 1969, as Bunker Hill’s redevelopment got underway. It reappeared at its present spot, about a hundred yards south, in 1996:

Here’s more footage, this time from the 1950s—and in color!

It’s clear from these shots how much Bunker Hill had changed by the ’50s since the railway opened in 1901. On one side of the track is one of the large Victorians that characterized the fashionable neighborhood at the turn of the 19th Century. On the other side are apartment buildings packed closely together. Both forms of housing (7,310 units in total) were razed to make way for the high-rises, museums, and plazas that make the area what it is today.

(Also, check out that cheesy facade on Grand Central Market!)

Finally, here’s a look at Angels Flight just five years before it began its long period of hibernation:

Just look at how the camera lingers on the railway—even giving a cool view of the tracks themselves. Clearly, the director of this real feature length film (the classic The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?) recognized the strange beauty of this singular LA landmark.

Angels Flight Railway

356 South Olive Street, , CA 90013 (213) 626-1901 Visit Website