There was an accident today (2/1/01) at Los Angeles’ historic Angel’s Flight, a restored funicular railway that goes up L.A.'s Bunker Hill (it also goes down).
Apparently, the car at the top had its cable snap and it plunged down the track and into the car that was getting ready to head up. Eight people were injured and an elderly couple was hospitalized with severe head injuries.
For those unfamiliar with the system, a funicular has two cars which are on a counterweight system so that while one goes up, the other goes down, and they pass each other in the middle. (My apologies to those who already knew that)
Apparently, the system had no fail safe system so that when the cable broke, there was no way to stop the train.
Now if there are any funicular railway experts here (somehow I think there are some on this board), but shouldn’t there have been some sort of emergency brake. Also, isn’t it unusual that a cable would break so soon in to its operation. The Angels Flight reopened after being shut down in the 1960s back in 1996. It was relocated, so all of the equipment, except for the cars which were refurbished, should have been fairly new equipment.
Or are there more accidents with funiculars throughout the world than I realize?