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Los Angeles’ Beloved Railroad Seen in movie ‘La La Land’ Chugging Back to Life

It was shut down after a catastrophic system failure sent one car crashing into the other in 2001, killing a passenger

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks at news conference standing in front of the Angels Flight railway in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Angels Flight, LA's beloved little railroad, had its cameo in the hit musical "La La Land" and now it's almost ready for its close-up. The tiny funicular that hauled people 298 feet up and down the city's steep Bunker Hill was shut down in 2013 after a series of safety problems. Garcetti said those issues are being resolved and the railroad's antique wooden cars should be back in service by Labor Day. (AP Photo/Nick Ut) VOA

Angels Flight, LA’s beloved little railroad, had its cameo in the hit musical “La La Land” and now it’s almost ready for its close-up.

The narrow-gauge railroad that for more than a century hauled people 298 feet up and down the city’s steep Bunker Hill was shut down in 2013 after a series of mishaps, including a crash that killed a rider.

At a news conference Wednesday, Mayor Eric Garcetti said those issues are being resolved and the railroad’s antique wooden cars, named Sinai and Olivet, should be back in service by Labor Day. They’ll be operated by a public-private partnership between the nonprofit Angels Flight Foundation and the private company ACS Infrastructure Development.

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“As anyone who has seen ‘La La Land’ can tell you, dreams do still come true here in Los Angeles,” Garcetti said exuberantly as dozens of cheering Angels Flight fans crowded together with reporters to hear his announcement just outside the railway’s bottom-of-the-hill station.

The railroad’s resurrection has been planned for months, but it may have gotten an unexpected boost when moviegoers saw Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling riding happily in one of the cars in “La La Land.” Many took to social media to ask why they couldn’t ride too.

That scene was just one of several film shoots the funicular has appeared in, said John Wellborne, past chairman of the Angels Flight Railway Foundation. But, he added with a chuckle, “It got a lot more attention than we anticipated.”

Meanwhile, some work still needs to be done before the cars can move again under an agreement reached with the state Public Utilities Commission.

That includes upgrading its funicular system in which the two cars’ counterbalancing weights allow one to be pulled up safely while the other is lowered. An emergency ramp must also be installed next to the railroad tracks so that if the cars break down in mid-run, as they did in 2013, firefighters won’t have to rescue the passengers this time.

Angels Flight railway is seen in the Bunker Hill section of Los Angeles, California, March 1, 2017.

Angels Flight railway is seen in the Bunker Hill section of Los Angeles, California, March 1, 2017.

Despite its recent woes, Angels Flight, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, holds a special place in the hearts of LA residents of all ages who will tell you countless stories of coming downtown to ride it during their childhood.

“I was 5 years old,” said Ron Lozano, who still vividly recalls the short trip as being his first thrill ride. “I didn’t get to Disneyland until I was 17.”

“It was heartbreaking when it shut down,” said the engineer who for years worked in a downtown skyscraper overlooking the tracks.

Angels Flight opened on New Year’s Eve 1901, hauling residents from Bunker Hill’s stately Victorian mansions down to one of the city’s best shopping districts. Rides cost a penny.

It operated until 1969 when it was shut down as the neighborhood, having fallen on hard times, underwent redevelopment.

FILE - Visitors walk past Angels Flight Railway in Los Angeles, Jan. 17, 2017.

FILE – Visitors walk past Angels Flight Railway in Los Angeles, Jan. 17, 2017.

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It reopened in 1996, just as the area was beginning to undergo a renaissance. For the next few years it carried thousands of tourists and office workers from the skyscrapers, museums and fashionable hotels that sprung up on Bunker Hill to the Grand Central Market below.

It was shut down after a catastrophic system failure sent one car crashing into the other in 2001, killing a passenger.

Reopened in 2010, it was closed three years later after a derailment stranded riders.(VOA)

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Want to Know What’s Happening Around the World Due to COVID-19? Use this App

This app to provide overview of COVID-19 pandemic globally

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COVID-19 app
Researchers have created a web application that provides an overview of the coronavirus pandemic across the globe. Pixabay

Researchers have created a web application that provides an overview of the coronavirus(COVID-19) pandemic across the globe, in a way that is more interactive than other maps and statistics.

The app titled ‘COVID-19’ is based on data from Johns Hopkins University in the US, the Danish National Serum Institute in Denmark, World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations.

“We began working on the app as a pet project, to deal with our boredom and inability to physically meet up. While Skyping one day, we wondered why we couldn’t find a graph that portrayed the evolution of coronavirus cases in Denmark,” said Phillip Bredahl Mogensen from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, one of those behind the app.

According to the study, the app provides an overview of how COVID-19 is spreading and the number of people who have both passed away and recovered.

Statistics from every country on earth are available and readily compared. For example, in only a few clicks, one can see how Spain or Italy are faring with the pandemic compared to Denmark. They also said that this is the first app that attempts to estimate suspected numbers – as opposed to reporting back confirmed positives from the test result.

COVID-19 app
According to the study, the app provides an overview of how COVID-19 is spreading and the number of people who have both passed away and recovered. Pixabay

“With the help of Danish and South Korean mortality statistics, we are able to provide an estimate of how many people were actually infected 20 days ago,” explained Bredahl Mogensen.

“For example, on March 9, there were 92 confirmed cases in Denmark. We estimate that there were actually between 1,163 and 3,615 people infected. In other words, 10 times the number of people were infected as compared to the official statistics,” he added.

Also Read- Find Out How Google is Battling Coronavirus Misinformation

The researchers used South Korean COVID-19 mortality data because the country has been dealing with the epidemic for a longer period of time and because South Korea has broader and more precise data sets than other countries.

“Even though the method is under development, and has yet to be validated, it presents an incredibly interesting estimate of the unknown extent of this virus,” the authors wrote. (IANS)