Angels Flight Gets Big Money Downtown News 5-23-05
The effort to reopen Angels Flight took a big step forward last week when the California Cultural and Historical Endowment (CCHE) approved a nearly $1 million grant for the railway. Last Wednesday, at a meeting in the Ronald Reagan State Building, the panel finalized the money, which Angels Flight had qualified for last December. Only 13 of 33 projects set to receive CCHE funds have completed the necessary steps. "This allows us to try to keep to a schedule of re-opening late this year or in early 2006," said John Welborne, president of Angels Flight Railway Foundation and the leader in the effort to raise approximately $2.5 million. The funicular, which connects Bunker Hill with the Historic Core, was shuttered after a 2001 accident that left one dead and seven injured. The CCHE funds are part of a rush of momentum for what is often called the shortest railway in the world. On June 11, Angels Flight will be the centerpiece of L.A. Works Day; following a ribbon cutting ceremony for the restoration, volunteers will paint Angels Flight's two stations. For more information about L.A. Works Day call 888-laworks or visit laworks.com.
I was downtown today and checked out Angels Flight. No signs of activity, just a sign reading "Temporarily out of service". I did look inside the building and observed that the original hoist machinery, electric motor and controller were still there. One would think that this time-tested apparatus could be refurbished to run for another 60 years, unlike the "what were they thinking" conglomeration that failed with fatal results.
When I was riding the OC Metrolink out last week, I saw the two funicular cars sitting in the Red Line yard (as seen in the blog pic). Would it seem that it will finally reopen soon? Other than the San Pedro Red Car, Downtown LA needs a heritage railway akin to San Francisco's F Market line.
Well...according to Blogdowntown, there should be lots of work seen on Angels Flight now. The twin cars will be on the tracks starting this weekend and will be testing soon for a projected re-opening sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Not only are the on the tracks, the lights are on inside the cars. Electricity is fed to the cars from contact rails next to the running rails. The contact rails and the current pickups appear to be hardware usually found on overhead-crane installations. In the original Angels Flight, the contact rails were trolley wire, held in upside-down overhead clips.
LA Times had a report of the system in operation for tests earlier this week. I think the apparatus works, it's just a case of satisfying the City of LA, the Calif. PUC, and assorted other bureaus and agencies that the railway is ready for the riding public.