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Angels Flight, closed since 2013, will reopen Thursday

Nearly four years have passed since Angels Flight derailed on a trip down Bunker Hill, leaving a lone passenger shaken, but unhurt.

Since then, the funicular’s twin cars — Sinai and Olivet — have perched unused on their steep, short track, bleached by the sun and adorned with graffiti, as officials struggled to come up with the money for a series of mandatory safety improvements.

The wait will end Thursday, when Angels Flight resumes shuttling passengers between Bunker Hill and Hill Street.

The opening date, first reported by the Downtown News and confirmed by two sources who were not authorized to speak publicly, marks an early success for a partnership brokered by Mayor Eric Garcetti to restore and run the railway.

Earlier this year, Garcetti announced a deal with two engineering companies who would pay for the Angels Flight safety upgrades and operate the railway in exchange for a share of the railway’s revenue over the next three decades.

The upgrades included raising the height of the train’s doors to prevent passengers from being flung out during a sudden stop, and installing a walkway connected to the track so passengers can evacuate, if needed.

State regulators have “no pending issues” that would prevent Angels Flight from reopening, Public Utilities Commission spokeswoman Constance Gordon said in an email.

The reopening will mark a new chapter in the long history of Angels Flight, which opened in 1901, half a block north of its current location. The railway closed in 1969 and reopened in 1996.

In 2001, Sinai broke loose near the top of the incline and plummeted down the track, striking Olivet. The collision killed an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor and hurt seven other people.

Investigators later said a flawed brake system and weak oversight led to the crash. The railway was closed for the next nine years.

In 2011, CPUC inspectors briefly halted operations after finding “excessive and abnormal wear” on the wheels and tracks.

Angels Flight derailed in September 2013. Federal officials with the National Transportation Safety Board later said that operators had used a tree branch to override the safety system, which had been causing unexpected stops.

The NTSB report also raised questions about evacuation procedures. One passenger climbed out of a car after the derailment and crawled along the tracks toward the upper platform, regulators said.

laura.nelson@latimes.com

For more transportation news, follow @laura_nelson on Twitter.

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