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SOSOCAL / Passing Through

Angels Flight, Downtown L.A.

September 10, 2000|Michael T. Jarvis

It's one of the most popular rides in town, but many Angelenos have never ridden Angels Flight, the 99-year-old "Shortest Railway in the World," linking 4th and Hill streets to Bunker Hill in downtown Los Angeles. Created in 1901, the funicular--two cars that move simultaneously by cable up and down a steep incline--operated until 1969, when it was mothballed for 27 years. Reopened at a cost of $4.1 million, a round trip on Angels Flight today is only 50 cents. We jumped aboard one Saturday afternoon to find out who's riding the rails.

Jody Duffy, vocational training specialist, Sacramento

I am returning from "breakfast at the Biltmore."

Do you have a guardian angel? "Not that I know of."

My longest train ride was "Edinburgh to Stranraer, Scotland."

What is a funicular? "A little funnel?"

How does Angels Flight resemble life in L.A.? "It has its ups and downs."

Antonio Freire, diplomat at the Portuguese Embassy, Washington, D.C.

I am going to "the Museum of Contemporary Art and then the Getty. I'm here for the Democratic convention."

Do you have a guardian angel? "My father, who died four years ago."

My longest train ride was "Lisbon to Norway and Istanbul."

What is a funicular? "I'm not sure."

How does Angels Flight resemble life in L.A.? "It is not to be expected in a flat town."

Thurston LeVay, glass-blowing plant manager, Arcadia

I am going "sightseeing in downtown with my nephew."

Do you have a guardian angel? "I don't think so."

My longest train ride was "Los Angeles to New York."

What is a funicular? "This is a funicular. I've been on one in Switzerland."

How does Angels Flight resemble life in L.A.? "It's up and down."

Nadine Roberts, parking authority employee, Philadelphia

I am going to Grand Central Market.

Do you have a guardian angel? "Yes. St. Theresa--it's my middle name."

My longest train ride was "Philadelphia to Los Angeles."

What is a funicular? "I couldn't say."

How does Angels Flight resemble life in L.A.? "It's like night and day. One block makes a big difference." Photographs by Cami Mesa

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