When The Militant found out nearly a month ago that Downtown's legendary Angels Flight Railway was suddenly shut down due to deteriorating wheel flanges (they're the part of the wheels that run inside the rails, not on top of them), he took a deep sigh and thought, "Here we go again."
Though Angels Flight 1.0 was dismantled an unspecified number of years before The Militant was born, he was definitely in da house for the opening of Angels Flight 2.0 on February 24, 1996. After the tragic accident of 2001, he was one of the first people back on the funicular in March of last year when Angels Flight 3.0 (okay, really, more like a v 2.5 upgrade) finally ran again. The Militant even made (trivial) history as the very last Angels Flight rider of 2010!
The Militant was ready for a long-ass downtime filled with lots of red tape. He's heard it all before. After all, when Angels Flight 1.0 was dismantled in 1969, the City originally promised to bring it back "In about two years." Shhyeah, right. He was all ready to draft a post meant for oh...sometime in September beyotching when Angels Flight will finally be ready.
But lo and behold, version 2.51 of the firmware update was announced on Tuesday. The new wheels, costing $40,000 (likely installed by funicular ninjas in the dead of night), were now in place and The Militant felt obliged to visit his old friends yet again.
|The old wheels (June 2011)|
And of course he had to take a ride.
Still wearing that big smile, he stepped into Olivet (Remember folks, Sinai is the car towards the north, Olivet towards the south), and after the buzzing sound heralding the 109-year old funicular's ascent, the ringing shriek of the brand-spankin' new wheels, the classic creaking of wood and, of course, the characteristic rumble. Ah, it's so nice to hear those sounds again.
The Militant lingered for a bit on the California Plaza end, listening to background music play as the Grand Performances crew set up for their next show. But he was there to watch his old funicular friends do their job - one that's inevitably filled with ups and downs - and this time not take it for granted.
Welcome back, old friends.