Friday, September 06, 2013

Angels Flight funicular derails

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One of two funicular cars used on Los Angeles's resurrected Angels Flight derailed Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, after an electrical circuit was disrupted and the car's emergency brake engaged, lifting it off the track, according to Angels Flight Railway President John Welborne.

The rail's circuit was disrupted when lubrication from routine maintenance done Wednesday weakened the connection between the grounding brush and the third rail. The car's backup batteries drained, and the emergency brake engaged, which lifted the wheels of the car off the track, Welborne told local media.

Six passengers were assisted off the cars after the incident by members of the Los Angeles Fire Department, which reported no injuries.

The California Public Utilities Commission inspects the railway every three years, and was due to inspect the funicular next year, according to its website.

Angels Flight, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, debuted in 1901 connecting Hill Street and Olive Street, closing in 1969. The revived funicular, now located nearby between Hill Street and California Plaza but using the original two rail cars, reopened in 1996 but has suffered several closures, though in recent years it has been operating mostly without incident.