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.
Yvonne De Carlo contemplates next to a window as Angels Flight goes by. This scene from 1949’s Criss Cross was by all indications a composite
Angels Flight in Film Noir
Robert Aldrich used the same location in 1955’s Kiss Me Deadly. This time Ralph Meeker drives his Corvette under Angels Flight. The Third St stairs are just to his right.
Angels Flight continued to run as all the buildings around it were demolished as
American Film Noir
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