Angels Flight


Angels Flight

Infobox_nrhp2 | name =Angels Flight Railway
nrhp_type =



caption = Angels Flight in May 2004 after the accident; the cars have been placed in storage
location = Hill St., Los Angeles, California
lat_degrees = 34
lat_minutes = 3
lat_seconds = 4.82
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 118
long_minutes = 15
long_seconds = 0.76
long_direction = W
locmapin = California
area =
built =1905
architect= Merceau Bridge & Construction Co.; Train & Williams
architecture= Beaux Arts, Other
added = 13 Oct 2000cite web|url=http://www.nr.nps.gov/|title=National Register Information System|date=2008-04-15|work=National Register of Historic Places|publisher=National Park Service]
designated_other2_name = L.A. Historic-Cultural Monument
designated_other2_date = August 06, 1962Citation | last = Los Angeles Department of City Planning | date = 2007-09-07 | title = Historic - Cultural Monuments (HCM) Listing: City Declared Monuments | place = | publisher = City of Los Angeles | edition = | url =http://www.cityprojectca.org/ourwork/documents/HCMDatabase090707.pdf | accessdate = 2008-05-28 ]
designated_other2_abbr = LAHCM
designated_other2_color = #ffc94b
designated_other2_number = 3
governing_body = Local
refnum=00001168

Angels Flight is a landmark funicular railway in the Bunker Hill district of downtown Los Angeles, California, which claims to be the "shortest railway in the world". But shorter ones are contained in the item below listing other funiculars - notably the three in Bournemouth, England. The funicular has operated on two slightly different sites, using the same cars. The first Angels Flight operated from 1901 until it was closed in 1969 when its location was redeveloped. The second reopened nearby in 1996, and closed again in 2001 after a serious accident. The second funicular still exists but does not operate, and it has been scheduled to reopen on several occasions.Cara Mia DiMassa, "Rebirth of Angels Flight", "Los Angeles Times", January 24, 2007 ( [http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/1200729231.html?dids=1200729231:1200729231&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Jan+24%2C+2007&author=Cara+Mia+DiMassa&pub=Los+Angeles+Times&edition=&startpage=B.1&desc=Rebirth+of+Angels+Flight%3B+Six+years+after+it+was+closed+following+a+fatal+crash%2C+downtown+L.A.%27s+landmark+railway+is+slated+to+reopen. Article abstract] – fee payable for full download)] In early 2008, the Los Angeles Downtown News reported that the railway would reopen "soon".Guzman, Richard. [http://www.ladowntownnews.com/articles/2008/01/14/news/news02.txt More Delays for Angels Flight] . "Los Angeles Downtown News". January 14, 2008.]

The first Angels Flight

Built in 1901 as the Los Angeles Incline Railway, running northwest from the west corner of Third and Hill Streets, Angels Flight consisted of two carriages pulled up a steep incline by metal cables powered by engines at the top of the hill. As one car ascended, the other descended, carried down by gravity. The two cars were named Sinai and Olivet.

The first Angels Flight was a conventional funicular, with both cars connected to the same haulage cable. Unlike most more modern funiculars it did not have track brakes for use in the event of a cable breaking, but it did have a separate safety cable which would come into play in case of breakage of the main cable. It operated for 68 years with a good safety record.cite web | url = http://www.ntsb.gov/publictn/2003/RAR0303.pdf | title = Uncontrolled Movement, Collision, and Passenger Fatality on the Angels Flight Railway in Los Angeles, California - February 1, 2001 | publisher = National Transportation Safety Board | format = pdf | accessdate = January 22 | accessyear = 2007]

The railway was closed in 1969 when the Bunker Hill area underwent a total redevelopment which transformed it from a declining community of mostly transients and working-class families renting rooms in run-down buildings to a modern mixed-use district of high-rise commercial buildings and modern apartment complexes. All the components of Angels Flight were placed in storage in anticipation of the railway's restoration and reopening.

The second Angels Flight

After 27 years in storage, the funicular was rebuilt and reopened in 1996 a half block south of the original site. Although the original cars were used, a brand new track and haulage system was designed and built, a redesign which had unfortunate consequences five years later. As rebuilt, the funicular was 91 meters (298 feet) long on an approximately 33-percent grade. Car movement was controlled by an operator inside the upper station house, who was responsible for: visually determining that the track and vehicles were clear for movement, closing the platform gates, starting the cars moving, monitoring the operation of the funicular cars, observing car stops at both stations, and collecting fares from passengers. The cars themselves did not carry any staff members.cite web | url = http://www.ntsb.gov/publictn/2003/RAR0303.pdf | title = Uncontrolled Movement, Collision, and Passenger Fatality on the Angels Flight Railway in Los Angeles, California - February 1, 2001 | publisher = National Transportation Safety Board | format = pdf | accessdate = January 22 | accessyear = 2007] Angels Flight was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 13, 2000.

On February 1, 2001, Angels Flight suffered a serious accident that killed passenger Leon Praport, 83, and injured seven others, including Praport's wife, Lola. The accident occurred when car Sinai, approaching the upper station, reversed direction and accelerated downhill in an uncontrolled fashion to strike Olivet near the lower terminus.cite web | url = http://www.ntsb.gov/publictn/2003/RAR0303.pdf | title = Uncontrolled Movement, Collision, and Passenger Fatality on the Angels Flight Railway in Los Angeles, California - February 1, 2001 | publisher = National Transportation Safety Board | format = pdf | accessdate = January 22 | accessyear = 2007]

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted an investigation into the accident, and determined that the probable cause was the improper design and construction of the Angels Flight funicular drive and the failure of the various regulatory bodies to ensure that the railway system conformed to initial safety design specifications and known funicular safety standards. The NTSB further remarks that the company that designed and built the drive, control, braking, and haul systems, Lift Engineering/Yantrak, is no longer in business, and that the whereabouts of the company's principal is unknown.cite web | url = http://www.ntsb.gov/publictn/2003/RAR0303.pdf | title = Uncontrolled Movement, Collision, and Passenger Fatality on the Angels Flight Railway in Los Angeles, California - February 1, 2001 | publisher = National Transportation Safety Board | format = pdf | accessdate = January 22 | accessyear = 2007] The founder, Yan Kunczynski, moved to La Paz, Mexico to avoid any possible prosecution, and is in the process of selling the YANTRAK facilities in Carson City, Nevada. He is also working on desalination technology.

Unlike the original, the new funicular used two separate haulage systems (one for each car), with the two systems connected to each other, the drive motor and the service brake by a gear train; it was the failure of this gear train which was the immediate cause of the accident as it effectively disconnected Sinai both from Olivet's balancing load and from the service brake. There were emergency brakes which acted on the rim of each haulage drum, but due to inadequate maintenance Sinai's emergency brake was inoperative. Contrary to what might be expected, the new funicular was constructed with neither safety cable nor track brakes, either of which would have prevented the accident; the NTSB was unable to identify another funicular worldwide that operated without either of these safety features.cite web | url = http://www.ntsb.gov/publictn/2003/RAR0303.pdf | title = Uncontrolled Movement, Collision, and Passenger Fatality on the Angels Flight Railway in Los Angeles, California - February 1, 2001 | publisher = National Transportation Safety Board | format = pdf | accessdate = January 22 | accessyear = 2007]

Besides the design failures in the haulage system, the system was also criticised by the NTSB for the lack of gates on the cars, and the absence of a parallel walkway for emergency evacuation. The funicular suffered serious damage in the accident, and will require major redesign before it can be permitted to reopen. At present the cars have been removed for safe storage, and the system no longer operates.

Several reopening dates have been announced, but none have come to pass. In early 2008, the railway president indicated that the railway would open soon. The Automobile Club of Southern California reported that Angels Flight would open in late 2008.Yates, Morgan P., "Calling All Angels", "Westways", July/August 2008.]

The City of Los Angeles commissioned conductor David Woodardcite web | url = http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/69768026.html?dids=69768026:69768026&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Mar+16%2C+2001&author=KENNETH+REICH&pub=Los+Angeles+Times&edition=&startpage=B.3&desc=Family+to+Sue+City%2C+Firms+Over+Angels+Flight+Death%3B+Court%3A+The+lawyer+for+Lola+Praport+says+at+a+memorial+service+that+one+aim+will+be+restoring+the+funicular+with+safer+gear |title = Reich, Kenneth, "Family to Sue City, Firms Over Angels Flight Death", Los Angeles Times, March 16, 2001 | pulisher = Los Angeles Times | format = html | accessdate = July 5 | accessyear = 2008] to compose and perform a memorial suite honoring Praport and the funicular's quaintly named cars. It was performed on March 15, 2001 by the Los Angeles Chamber Group as "An Elegy For Two Angels."

In popular culture

*It appeared in the opening scenes of the film "The Glenn Miller Story" in full operation.
*It appeared in the "Perry Mason" television series in which Perry's car was "stripped." The 1966 episode, the only one of the original series filmed in color, was called "The Case of the Twice Told Tale."
*Angels Flight is shown in Robert Aldrich's "Kiss Me Deadly" (1955) and "The Indestructible Man" (1956). It is also seen in detail in "The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies" (1965).
*"Angels Flight" was also the name and locale of a Harry Bosch crime novel by Michael Connelly.
*There are references to Angels Flight in the song "Strange Season" on Michael Penn's 1992 album "Free-for-All," and the cover features images of the line and a ticket stating, "Good for one ride".
*A scene in "Hollow Triumph" (1948) features Paul Henreid escaping from pursuers on one of the cars.
*There is also a scene in Robert Siodmak's 1949 film noir, "Criss Cross" where the gangsters are planning the armored car heist. The cars can be seen through a window going up and down, first in daylight, then in darkness, to illustrate the passage of time.
*In a 1920 short comedy, "All Jazzed Up" a bored wife leaves a note for her husband: "I was too lonesome here without you. I have gone up Angels Flight—meet me up above". He jumps to the conclusion she has committed suicide and attempts to kill himself as well.
*In the game Tony Hawk's American Wasteland, Angels Flight is a gap where the player can grind up or down the rails, the gap being called "Angel Going Up!" or "Angel Going Down!"
*It was shown at the opening to an episode of Dragnet, with Jack Webb's voice-over: "...for five cents, ride the shortest railway in the world."
*Angels Flight was also the name of a 1980's-1990's Hair metal band based in McKinney, Texas.

Design details

*The correct name for the railway is "Angels Flight", which is grammatically incorrect as there is no possessive apostrophe before or after the 's'. The film of the same name, however, "does" include an apostrophe. In addition, "Angels" is misspelled as "Ancels".

*The decorative Beaux-Arts archway entrance and station house were added around 1910. The original archway was a simple cast iron pipe structure with a two-feet-high cherub and the name Angel's Flight (with an apostrophe) above it. cite web | url = http://www.ulwaf.com/LA-1900s/PicturePages/AngelsFlight3rdSt.html | title = Los Angeles in the 1900s – Angel’s Flight and Third Street | publisher = George Garrigues | accessdate = January 22 | accessyear = 2007]

*The initials that appear on the archway, 'BPOE', stand for the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, who once had a lodge in a large building adjacent to the top of the original flight.cite web | url = http://www.ulwaf.com/LA-1900s/PicturePages/AngelsFlight3rdSt.html | title = Los Angeles in the 1900s – Angel’s Flight and Third Street | publisher = George Garrigues | accessdate = January 22 | accessyear = 2007]

ee also

*List of funicular railways
*List of heritage railroads in the United States
*List of Registered Historic Places in Los Angeles

References

External links

* [http://www.ulwaf.com/LA-1900s/PicturePages/AngelsFlight3rdSt.html Angels Flight Through the Decades]
* [http://juniperhills.net/elegyfortwoangels.html "An Elegy For Two Angels"]
* [http://www.westworld.com/~elson/larail/angelsflight.html Angels Flight Virtual Ride]
* [http://www.transit-rider.com/ca.losangeles/angelsflight.cfm Transit Rider Photos]
* [http://imdb.com/title/tt0316601/ Angel's Flight, the film]
* [http://www.electricearl.com/af/ Stills from several movies in which Angels Flight features or appears]
*YouTube|McI6Pso3WGc|KTLA News Clip (Jan 2007) covering prposed reopening
*YouTube|adk9kHC60Ko|A ride on Angels Flight


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