Starring in countless movies, Angels Flight is also the funicular with the most dangerous switch in the world. Have you figured out which one it is from pictures?
The WORLD’S SHORTEST FUNICOLAR
# A landmark since 1901
Those orange and black, slightly vintage-looking coaches run up and down Bunker Hill in Los Angeles. L.A.’s Angels Flight is a planetary record-breaking cable car: the 90-meter ride grants the world’s shortest cable car record.
Angels Flight is included in L.A.’s local public transportation, meaning that a Metro pass allows for a reduced fare for the ride up and down the hill in Downtown.
The administration of these self-described “landmark” rides in Los Angeles, because like all historic transportation, it has helped create the metropolis’ magic.
# Distinctive silhouette and location
To find this distinctive funicular you must look for two locations, the twos connected by Angels Flight. The lower entrance is located at 351 South Hill Street, at the intersection with Oliver Street; the orange ride then stops on top at California Plaza and pops up at 350 South Grand Avenue.
In the year of construction, made possible by funding from Colonel J. W. Eddy, the world’s shortest zip line served to connect one of L.A.’s most exclusive residential areas at the top of the hill with the commercial area below.
Angels Flight is “open” from 6:45 a.m. until 10 p.m., including weekends. Tickets are $1, discounted 50 cents if you have a Metro card.
Since this is a Los Angeles institution, you can also purchase $2 commemorative tickets, to keep an exclusive souvenir of your visit to the City of Angels.
# The chill of danger
Two are the coaches for making the runs, Sinai and Olivet.
They start at the same time from the top and bottom of Bunker Hill, crossing about halfway down.
The structure, however, consists of compenetrating tracks, which divide right in the middle of the hill, to allow the two cars to meet and continue each in its race. A choice that unfortunately could not prevent collisions between the cars, or derailments, with accidents that sometimes proved fatal.
In the few minutes of Angels Fligt’s ride, it is possible to position oneself in front of the wagons and observe the approach of the other car, hoping that the sensors and the rail switches work perfectly, to avoid a head-on collision between Sinai, Olivet and – above all – their passengers.
# Seventh art icon
Have you figured out now where you’ve seen her before?
Angels Flight has starred in dozens and dozens of feature films and TV series since 1928.
In 2016, it’s alongside Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in a scene from La La Land, and by all parties’ admissions the use of black and orange coaches wasn’t exactly a legal operation. In fact, Angels Flight is at a standstill since 2013, banned from carrying passengers other than the technicians involved in the safety of the facilities. Yet Damien Chazelle shot that scene, and the authorities only noticed it in movie theater seats.
The black and orange funicular looks like it was made for the big movie industry in Los Angeles. Sinai and Olivet are positioned at the starting line, waiting for a movie, a maintenance plan or a civil battle to get them going again, to go up and down the hill in Downtown.
Will they restart or remain forever at the end of the line?
Continue reading: The revolution of an European MICRO-NATION: all localities connected by trams and cableways