Angel’s Flight: Worlds Shortest Railway

Update Summer 2015: Angels Flight is currently not running due to financial difficulties, read more about how you can help here.

Angel’s Flight is a landmark funicular railway in Downtown Los Angeles that has two cars: Sinai and Olivet. The self-proclaimed “shortest railway in the world” has a storied history in Los Angeles and even though it is not the original location, it still uses the original cars. For 50 cents a trip you can take this one block ride from Hill St to California Plaza, definitely a fun little adventure for the whole family.

Details

  • Mon – Sun 6:30 AM – 10 PM
  • 50 cents each way
  • Pay at the top but you can get on at the top or bottom

History

The original Angel’s Flight was built-in 1901 and ran for two blocks from Hill to Olive St.  As one car ascended, the other descended, carried down by gravity. An archway labeled “Angels Flight” greeted passengers on the Hill Street entrance, and this name became the official name of the railway in 1912 when the Funding Company of California purchased the railway from its founders.

When the city underwent redevelopment in 1969 the railway was taken apart and put in storage. After 27 years in storage, the funicular was rebuilt and reopened on February 24, 1996 a half block south of the original site where it is still in use today.

Angel’s Flight

I loved riding this little railway, mostly because it was such a fun piece of history and it’s great that it’s actually still in use. We boarded from the bottom and simply waited about 3 minutes for the ride to start.

Two minutes later we were passing the second train and approaching the top of the track.

What I really liked about this ride was the design of the old train car, it is unique in that it has stairs going up the entire middle as well as staired seating up the side. It almost feels like you are riding on the grandfather of the modern-day escalator.

As you come to a stop at the top of the track you get out and pay your 50 cents to the person working behind the window and leave from there or pay an additional 50 cents and ride back down to the street. At the top there is also some history from the area and Angel’s Flight itself, as well as a plaque that commemorated its 50 year anniversary over 50 years ago.

The Plaque

The plaque reads:

Built in 1901 by Colonel J.W. Eddy, lawyer, engineer and friend of President Abraham Lincoln, Angels 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 Angeles.

All in all this is a really fun and historical 5 minute ride for your family. It is cheap option when spending the day in LA and provides a lot of unique photo ops. Make sure to leave me a comment below if you have been on it.

Interested in supporting this blog?

This blog is simply a hobby and labor of love for me. If you have enjoyed the posts consider sharing it with your friends. I want as many people as possible to explore this state and you can help by letting them know about all of the great spots!

Subscribe to the mailing list for a weekly posts recap!

About JoshMc

Thanks for checking out the blog, I am happy to be sharing my adventures with you! You can get to know me by reading my about me, which includes a video and additional information on the site, myself and my full disclosure. Also, follow along on Twitter here or read all of my posts on this blog here.