The Angels® Flight Railway Foundation, represented by Nossaman LLP and Shumaker Mallory LLP, reached a historic agreement with a team led by ACS Group and including Sener Engineering and Systems, to put the iconic Angels Flight® Railway in downtown Los Angeles back into service by this coming Labor Day.
The agreement utilizes a public-private partnership to restore the Railway to passenger service, through full-scale modernization and state-of-the-art safety improvements, and to operate and maintain it to industry standards for 30 years. Borrowing a revenue risk concession structure usually employed only for much larger and more complex projects, the transaction demonstrates applicability on the smaller stage as well.
Known as the “world’s shortest railway,” the Railway is one of the most enduring landmarks in the City. It has operated over 115 years, and has carried more than one hundred million passengers, but it has been shut down since late 2013 due to regulatory requirements.
In addition to being a tourist attraction, the Railway will serve as an important transit connection between the Pershing Square Metro station and the top of Bunker Hill – an area that includes Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, MOCA and the Los Angeles Music Center, among other cultural institutions. The public-private partnership will ensure the long-term stability of this essential connection for 30 years.
Addressing the crowd at the March 1 announcement of the historic agreement, Mayor Eric Garcetti said “Angels Flight® is a cultural gem that tells an unforgettable story about the history of Los Angeles. Today, we celebrate the rebirth of this iconic attraction — and once the modernization is complete, we will welcome millions of visitors from around the world to experience it with us.” “It is truly a historic day for one of Los Angeles’ most recognized treasures,” said Councilmember Jose Huizar. “It is our hope that this public-private partnership ensures the new Angels Flight® will be safe, economically sustainable and — once again — a key City of Los Angeles cultural centerpiece for years to come.”
The new operator has been formed by strong companies ready, willing and able to deliver safe, reliable and sustainable transit service, and will make significant, at-risk and up-front investments necessary to cover all needed modernization, operations and long-term maintenance in exchange for an interest in the revenues the Railway will generate during the concession period.
The operators have not yet announced their initial fare structure but, owing to an agreement the Foundation reached with the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the operator will offer Metro TAP Card holders a 50% discount on Railway passenger fares for at least the first three years. The Railway is expected to operate for public use seven days per week from 6:45 a.m. until 10 p.m., subject to reasonable shutdowns for maintenance and repairs and limited special events, like movie location shoots.
For a historic funicular railway immortalized in hundreds of works of art, books, television shows and movies, most recently the widely acclaimed film and Oscar-winner, “La La Land,” this is truly a red-letter day.
For further information, please visit the Angels Flight® website at https://angelsflight.org/.