ANGELS FLIGHT IS THE WORLD’S SHORTEST RAILWAY located in Los Angeles, California in the historic Bunker Hill neighborhood.
Bunker Hill was once a wealthy neighborhood with Queen Anne mansions lived in by doctors, lawyers and bankers and elegant hotels for visiting guests.
It was once difficult for individuals to access Bunker Hill due to a steep incline.
Colonel, Lawyer and Engineer James Ward Eddy came up with an idea approved by the City Council to build a funicular railway to provide easy and reliable transportation. Colonel Eddy completed the project in 5 months.
1901 – the original Angels Flight was located a half block north from the Grand Central Market location next to the Third Street tunnel to connect Bunker Hill residents living in Queen Anne mansions at the top of the hill to local businesses at the bottom. White was the original color of the Angels Flight cars. They were named Sinai and Olivet. The cost was 1 cent for 1 ride or 3 rides for 5 cents from Hill Street to Olive Street or vice versa from 6:00am to 12:20pm.
1914 – Angel Flights fare was increased from 1 cent to 5 cents.
1920 – Bunker Hill started to decline because elite residents started moving west and the mansions and hotels became boarding eye sores in the community.
1959 – the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency adopted a redevelopment for Bunker Hill.
1968 – the former Bunker Hill neighborhood was completely leveled.
May 18, 1969 at 10:30pm – Angels Flight made its last trip before the City of Los Angeles dismantled the Angels Flight cars and placed them in storage to redevelop the Bunker Hill neighborhood.
1996 – Angels Flight reopened at its current location across the street from the Grand Central Market.
February 1, 2001 – Angels Flight closed after the death of a passenger and seven injuries due to a derailment
March 15, 2010 – Angels Flight reopened for a short period.
September 5, 2013 – Angels Flight closed due to another derailment.
2016 – Angels Flight makes a cameo appearance in the Oscar nominated film La La Land before opening to the public thanks to a 30 year contract between the Angels Flight Development Company and the City of Los Angeles.
August 31, 2017 – Angels Flight reopens to the public. Today, the Angels Flight cars are orange and black instead of white with the same names Sinai and Olivet.
The cost $1.00 to ride one way unless you have a valid Metro Tap Card the ride is 50 cents to ride from Hill Street to California Plaza and vice versa from 6:45am to 10:00pm.
If you start at the bottom, you will pay at the ticket booth located at the top to exit at California Plaza. If you start at the top, you will pay before riding to the bottom to exit at Hill Street.
You enter Angels Flight on a first come, first serve basis by standing in line.
You walk up the stairs in the middle of the wooden car to find a place to sit in 1 of the 16 seats.
There is no standing allowed inside the car nor outside at the back of the car.
There are usually people standing respectfully in line waiting to ride Angels Flight at the bottom and top. We decided to take a round trip ride to avoid the tourist lines.
It is worth noting dogs are not allowed on Angels Flight.
The ride on Angels Flight was surprisingly smooth and the view from the top was breathtaking. It’s also the perfect place to take a selfie.
There is a water fountain with a plaque to commemorate fifty years of service by the railway dedicated to Colonel by the Native Daughters of the Golden West at the top near the ticket booth and it reads “Built in 1901 by Colonel J.W. Eddy, Lawyer, Engineer and Friend of President Lincoln, Angel Flight is said to be the world’s shortest incorporated railway. The counterbalanced cars, controlled by cables, travel a 33 percent grade for 315 feet. It is estimated that Angels Flight has carried more passengers per mile than any other railway in the world. Over a hundred million in its first fifty years. This incline railway is a public utility operating under a franchise granted by the City of Los Angles.”
The memories of Bunker Hill Avenue and neighborhood continues to live on through history thanks to Angels Flight Railway.