The beloved Bunker Hill railway, Angels Flight, is taking a big leap towards reopening this summer. The Downtown News reports that construction is set to begin today on the emergency evacuation stairway alongside the railway.
The stairway’s construction has been a hurdle for the landmark funicular. The California Public Utilities Commission, the state regulatory agency overseeing the funicular, made the construction of the stairway a condition of the railway’s reopening after a derailment in September 2013.
That incident was the railway’s most recent in a chain of safety mishaps over the years: a 2001 derailment that resulted in one passenger’s death kept the railway closed until 2010. In 2011, another safety issue resulted in yet another closure of the funicular.
However, disagreement about the stairway’s usefulness in the event of an emergency kept the staircase from being installed, which in turn kept the railway offline for years.
It seems now as though that disagreement has been resolved. The walkway, as well as additional repairs to the railway, are being done by the Angels Flight Development Company, a public-private partnership made up of the city, the engineering firm Sener, ACS Infrastructure, says the News. The work on the walkway is expected to take about a week.