Sunday, 26 July 2015

Angels Flight [2]

Neil : 10/06/1977 to 07/07/2015
No 1 and No 2 : bus watching in Sheffield

See yesterday's blog (here) for Episode 1. "The picture" was of the Hill Street station but with netting indicating that something was very up.
So what happened? The original Angels Flight was closed in 1969 as part of the Bunkers Hill redevelopment with a promise of reopening "on the same site" in two years. In fact it took 27 years to re-open. But the original cars were still available having been stored safely.
In 1996 the new Angels Flight opened a few yards south of he original.
The old site is by the second set of traffic lights, the black rectangle in the sky.

But if you go to the official web site today, you will find this ...
... hence the netting in the emailed piccy!

So what has happened.

 2001  There was a serious accident in which one passenger was killed.
In essence, the haulage rope slipped off the winding drum allowing the descending car to run downhill out of control. Because of the slack in the wire it met the ascending car on a shared rail rather than at the passing loop.
The line was closed while investigation and modification was undertaken.

 2010  Line re-opened. 

 2011  Line closed again because the wheels were wearing too fast as a result of the sharp curves on the passing loop.

Inspectors for the California Public Utilities Commission discovered wheel flange damage during a routine inspection of the Los Angeles landmark. The flanges hold the cars’ wheels on the rails, the agency said in a statement.

fbb struggled with the technical description in the above note. Wheels replaced.

 2013  Derailment and closure.

One of the cars became derailed at the start of the passing loop. No-one was injured but passengers had to be rescued by the Fire Brigade.

The line closed and has remained so every since. The authorities have demanded a trackside walkway to allow for evacuation of stranded cars, but there is, apparently, no room on-site to provide one.

It is strange that the line operated from 1902 to 1969 with no problems; the one serious accident being the demise of a sailor who was attempting to climb the racks (bevvied up?) and was crushed by a descending car.

There has been a petition to reopen but, as yet, no definite proposals have been made.

Dear Mayor Garcetti,
Angels Flight is trapped in a bureaucratic stalemate and we need your help.

Los Angeles' beloved funicular railway, Historic-Cultural Monument #4, was out of commission for six hours on September 5, 2013, because of an incident that took place that day. The cause of the incident was investigated and addressed, and new safety equipment was tested in the presence of State and Federal officials in February of 2014.

But now, nearly two years following the 2013 incident, the public still is being prohibited from riding Angels Flight.

The operator of Angels Flight and numerous licensed professional engineers and the LAFD have concluded that safety issues have been addressed. The Railway is in safe working order, and has been since early 2014. However, because of the views of a now-retired NTSB investigator, the California Public Utilities Commission will not permit the vintage passenger cars to carry patrons until a track-adjacent evacuation walkway, which experts have written is unnecessary and even a foreseeable hazard, is installed alongside the track, the cables, and the electric third rail.

Angels Flight is one of the great historic attractions of our city, a palpable link between the lost Victorian neighborhood of Bunker Hill and the vibrant new Downtown below. It is heartbreaking to see the cars and track structure as they are today, dusty and tagged with graffiti.

Please, will you step in personally to help cut the red tape in Sacramento and San Francisco so that a pathway to a solution can be identified? It is our sincere hope that Angels Flight might again be carrying residents and visitors by December 31, 2015, the commencement of Angels Flight’s 115th year in Los Angeles. Our City does not have much that is that old or wonderful.

Your taking this leadership role in finding a solution would be a great service to the City, and one which you are uniquely suited to perform.

So Neil sent his dad a picture of a non-operating "temporarily" closed funicular railway in Los Angeles, once used by Perry Mason and Della Street**.

Is it really the shortest railway in the world? Opinions and/or answers, please.

But thanks Neil, for the picture!
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
2 Corinthians Ch 1 verse 3
** Perry Mason and Della Street : the oblique reference is to a TV courtroom series in which Mason (Raymond Burr) always won impossible cases ably assisted by Della (Barbara Hale) and opposed by District Attorney Hamilton Burger (William Talman) and Lootenant Tragg (Ray Collins). In an episode entitled "The Case of the Twice-Told Twist", hero and heroine (why did they never get married?) travelled together on Angels Fight. This 1966 episode, incidentally, was the only one filmed in colour, sorry, color.
 Next (delayed) bus blog : Monday 27th July 

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