In 1901 a funicular railway was built to carry passengers from Bunker Hill to the burgeoning downtown area below. The funicular ran between Hill St. and Olive Street, a distance of some 300 feet. The railway was dubbed Angels Flight (no apostrophe) and was billed as the world’s shortest railway with a fare of five cents each way. It operated uninterrupted until 1969 when it was dismantled and the cars put into storage. In 1996 the railway was rebuilt a block away using the same cars and much of the original structure. However in its new life it serves more as a tourist attractions than a functional part of the City.
Angels Flight ran atop the Third Street tunnel. The far right photo below shows the top station on Olive St.
The uniqueness of Angels Flight made it one of the many interesting backdrops in and around Bunker Hill.
Angels Flight continued to run as all the buildings around it were demolished as redevelopment started.
Left: Angels Flight made its final run on May, 18th, 1969 and the two cars were placed into storage.
Right: In 1996 the remodeled cars were placed into service on new tracks a block from the original location. In 2001 a failure with the new haulage system caused the cars to break loose killing one passenger. Another haulage system was installed but continuing problems have forced intermittent shutdowns.
As originally built, Angels Flight operated continuously for almost 70 years without any interruptions.
Angels Flight served as a backdrop for many films. But in these 6 noir films the actors rode the funicular railcar as part of the scene.