Monongahela Incline was built in 1870. It wasd the
first passneger-carrying incline in Pittsburgh
— There is really only one way to see Pittsburgh.
to ride its two remaining inclined plane railroads. Each
is a fun 2˝-minute ride with some great views of downtown
historic Monongahela and Duquesne inclines, with motorized
cables to lift and lower the cars, were initially powered
by steam engines when they opened in 1870 and 1877,
Monongahela was the first passenger-carrying incline in
are the sole survivors of 17 inclines in Pittsburgh and
are the oldest of a few remaining urban inclines or
funiculars in the United States.
carry tourists and Pittsburgh residents to the top of
Mount Washington with stunning vistas of downtown
Pittsburgh and its three rivers: the Monongahela,
Allegheny and Ohio, which meet at the Golden Triangle at
Point State Park.
inclines are among Pittsburgh’s biggest tourist
attractions. The Duquesne gets nearly 642,000 riders a
year, the Monongahela about 460,000.
offer stunning up-high views of the city’s skyline,
dominated by the 64-story tower that is home to U.S. Steel
Tower and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
From atop the bluff, you can observe many of Pittsburgh’s
to Pittsburgh’s transportation infrastructure, they are
used by residents getting to and from work, shops and
home. They have been renovated repeatedly over the years.
are on the south side of West Carson Street, about one
mile apart near the Station Square area.
Monongahela Incline is 635 feet in length and travels 367
vertical feet. The grade is 35 degrees. The two cars can
carry 24 and 23 passengers.
Duquesne Incline is 800 feet in length and lifts/lowers
passengers 400 feet. The grade is less steep: 30 degrees.
Each car carries 17 passengers.
car goes up as the other goes down on both inclines, on
tracks 5 feet apart. The Monongahela travels 6 miles per
hour. The Duquesne, 4 miles per hour.
feature hand-carved cherry panels, maple trim, amber glass
transoms and original hardware. The stations have been
returned to their original looks, although the propulsion
and braking systems have been updated over the years.
inclines are on the National Register of Historic Places.
They have also been named historic structures by the
Pittsburgh History and Landmark Foundation. The Duquesne
Incline has a small museum and gift shop at the upper
Monongahela Incline was built at a cost of $50,000 and
opened up the barely accessible Mount Washington to
residential development. It was one of four inclines on
early Pittsburgh, industry grew on the flat lands along
the rivers. Workers lived nearby and walked to the mills
and factories. The hilly parts of town developed later
because of limited access.
immigrants who lived on Coal Hill, as Mount Washington was
then known, proposed an incline.
primitive coal hoist was in place where the incline stands
now to lower coal from Mount Washington to the bottom of
Samuel Diescher designed the incline and it was built by
in Pittsburgh became a very popular means of
transportation. According to Scientific America in 1880,
the Monongahela Incline got 6,000 passengers on Sundays.
second incline was added in 1884 to carry freight to the
top of Mount Washington. It even carried horses and wagons
and later automobiles.
was dismantled in 1935 after roads were built to Mount
Washington and the use of trucks had grown.
1935, the Monongahela Incline was improved, the cars
rebuilt and the steam engine that had pulled the cables
replaced with electric motors.
the early days, the fare for foot passengers in Pittsburgh
ranged from 1 cent to 5 cents on different inclines.
Duquesne Incline opened in 1877. It offered access to
downtown Pittsburgh via the Point Bridge for Duquesne
Heights residents. It was built of wood and iron. The wood
was replaced by iron in 1888.
was not located as well as the Monongahela Incline and got
less use. Streetcars and automobiles drew traffic away.
1962, it was shut down due to low ridership and need for
costly repairs. It was rescued by a nonprofit group that
began day-to-day operations in 1963.
Monongahela Incline operates from 5:30 a.m. to 12:45 a.m.
Monday through Saturday and 8:45 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.
Sundays and holidays. A round-trip adult fare is $3.50 via
a vending machine. For more information, call 412-442-2000
or go to www.portauthority/paac.
Duquesne Incline operates from 5:30 a.m. to 12:45 a.m.
Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 12:45 a.m. Sundays
and holidays. A round-trip fare for an adult is $5.
Staffers will sell you tickets.
can arrange for tours of the equipment: the motor, drive
gear and giant cast-iron drum that pull two steel cables
that move the cars. The cables are 1.12 inches in diameter
and 900 feet long. There are backup safety cables and a
information, call 412-381-1665 or go to
busiest times for both inclines are Saturday and Sunday
afternoons. You may wait to go up or come back down.
Pittsburgh tourist information, call 412-281-7711 or go to