Tuesday, October 15, 2013

NTSB: Angels Flight needs safety upgrades

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The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended "urgent" safety upgrades for Los Angeles' Angels Flight funicular, saying the incline lacks suitable evacuation options.

The NTSB report follows a derailment on the funicular Sept. 5, 2013. No one was injured, but passengers were forced to wait for fire department assistance, since the system lacked emergency evacuation infrastructure such as walkways.

Angels Flight operators did not notify the National Response Center or call 911 for assistance, according to the report. A bystander called the fire department to report the accident, NTSB said.

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.