Angels Flight, the World’s Shortest Railway, Reopens in Downtown Los Angeles

The hillside railway in downtown Los Angeles known as Angels Flight reopened to the public on Thursday after shutting down in 2013 when it derailed – not for the first time.

First opened in 1901 about a block or so from its current incarnation, the orange-and-black funicular now connects passengers over a steep but short distance of less than a quarter-mile between Grand Avenue and Hill Street in the Bunker Hill area. Its storied history includes multiple derailments over the years, including one that killed a man and injured seven others in 2001.

The Angels Flight Railway is seen in 2010. (Robyn Beck/ AFP/Getty Images) Images)

The Angels Flight Railway is seen in 2010. (Robyn Beck/ AFP/Getty Images) Images)

Now, after capturing attention with a scene in the Oscar-winning 2016 film "La La Land," Angels Flight reopens to the public.

Rides will cost $1 or 50 cents for L.A. Metro riders and the railway will operate from 6:45 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., seven days a week and 365 days a year, including all holidays, according to its website.

A number of private companies have helped pay for the railway's restoration, working with the city and covering costs for safety upgrades required by the California Public Utilities Commission for reopening, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Nuria Haliwanger, CEO of ACS Infrastructure, the main company that worked with the Angels Flight Railway Foundation to fund and execute the railway's reconstruction, said its 116-year history made it a project worth doing.

"Historically, it's been here since 1901, so it's one of the iconic features and landmarks of Los Angeles," she told KTLA. "That was what we really wanted to be part of."

ACS and the Angels Flight Railway Foundation will be responsible for operating the landmark for the next 30 years.

The last time Angels Flight was running was in September 2013, when it derailed with six passengers on board. No one was injured that time. Still, the incident put the safety of the railway into question and prompted another closure.

People walk past the idle Angels Flight in downtown Los Angeles on Sept. 9, 2016. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

People walk past the idle and vanadalized Angels Flight in downtown Los Angeles on Sept. 9, 2016. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

While the railway has since been repaired and restored, after years of sitting idle and collecting graffiti, its history of riding off the tracks more than once is notable.

After the railway's fatal accident in 2001, investigators found that safety oversight and design of its reconstruction was inadequate, with flawed braking systems needing repair and reconstruction costs amounting to just over $1.5 million in order for the rail to operate again, according to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

That federal report also directly blamed not just the maker of Angels Flight, but also city officials with the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency as well as the California Public Utilities Commission for their "failure ... to ensure that the railway system conformed to initial safety design specifications and known funicular safety standards."

But the city of Los Angeles has promised to make sure safety standards are up to par this time.

In March, the mayor's office announced that the California Public Utilities Commission certified a plan to upgrade the railway to meet "the highest safety standards," according to a press release.