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Angels Flight Derailment

 
Angels Flight Derailment

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - One of the two Angels Flight railcars jumped its  tracks today in downtown Los Angeles and six people were assisted off the cable  car by firefighters, but nobody was hurt.

The accident at 351 S. Hill St., between Third and Fourth streets, was  reported at 9:21 a.m., according to fire department spokeswoman Katherine Main.

Main said she did not know what caused the car to jump the track.

The historic Angels Flight railway is billed as the ``shortest railway  in the world.'' It reopened in 2010 after a nine-year closure prompted by a  2001 accident that killed one person and seriously injured seven others.

The railway celebrated its 110th anniversary on New Year's Eve 2010.  Col. J.W. Eddy first opened a funicular rail up Bunker Hill on Dec. 31, 1901.  The rides cost a penny when it first opened.

It was dismantled and put into storage in 1969 because of the Bunker  Hill urban renewal project.

It was rebuilt and reopened in 1996, a half-block south of the original  site.

The California Public Utilities Commission, which oversees Angels  Flight, shut it down for almost a month in June 2012 when inspectors found that  a wheel part that holds the cars on the track, the flange, had been worn down  to a thickness that was unsafe on three of eight wheels.

The funicular, which takes riders on one-minute trips up and down Bunker  Hill, re-opened July 5 after the operator installed all new wheels made of  harder steel.

The railway still uses its original cars from 1901, named Olivet and Sinai.

In January 2012, Angels Flight Railway President John Welborne announced  the fare would rise from a quarter to 50 cents after its biennial maintenance  was finished.

Welborne said the nonprofit has been struggling for years to keep the  fares low, relying heavily on donations and income from movie shoots. The last  Muppets movie included a cameo for the railway, which brought in close to  $2,000.

``Look, if a Ron Burkle or a Wallis Annenberg calls us and says we'd  like to give you $100,000 to not raise the fares, we won't,'' Welborne said.

But the fare was eventually increased to 50 cents. However, passengers  who show their Metro Tap card loaded with a valid Metro pass at the top of  Angels Flight can still ride for 25 cents.

The railway operates between 6:45 a.m. and 10 p.m.   

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