Monday, March 15, 2010

Nine Years Later, Angels Flight Returns to the Rails

I won't believe it until I physically climb on either Sinai and Olivet and actually ride the rails again.

But according to the Angels Flight Railway Foundation, the funicular will resume operations on Monday, March 15 at 6:45 a.m.

It's been a nine-year journey to get Angels Flight back into operation, after a 2001 accident in which Sinai reversed course and struck Olivet. One man was killed, and seven people were injured, in the accident.

Angels Flight had only been re-open for five years when the accident took place. The NTSB did a thorough investigation and ultimately blamed shoddy reconstruction -- and the lack of many safety features -- for the accident.

The original Angels Flight was built in 1901, but torn down in 1969 as Bunker Hill underwent its skyscraper makeover. After nearly three decades in storage, Angels Flight was rebuilt (and the trains Sinai and Olivet rehabbed) and opened a half block south of the original site in 1996.

During the nine years out of commission, Angels Flight got a new paint job -- back to its original orange and black, rather than the red color we remember from the 1990s. And, I assume, those pesky safety features were finally included.

Why the cynicism? We've written several times through the years that Angels Flight was about to open. Here's a clip from 2007:

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