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Duquesne Incline Railway - Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member NorStar
N 40° 26.304 W 080° 01.141
17T E 583198 N 4476879
Quick Description: The Duquesne Incline Railway, with the Monongahela Incline Railway, are the remaining examples of Pittsburgh's 17 incline railways, and was designed by Sam Diescher.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 6/6/2009 7:59:56 PM
Waymark Code: WM6HJ1
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 18

Long Description:
Pittsburgh is well known for its funiculars. According to the brochure produced by the local section of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) there were at one time 17 such inclines in Pittsburgh. Currently, two survive: the Monongahela, and this one, the Duquesne Incline. The brochure produced by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers documents both inclines together, but each has a different number in ASME's listing on its web site. Duquesne's is No. 27.

The incline, open for service in 1877, was the third in Pittsburgh (according to the brochure by ASME). The incline was built on Washington Hill, formerly known as Coal Hill. It is likely that it closely follows old coal transport tracks that may have been there as early as 1854. It was designed by Samuel Diescher, for Kirk Bigham and Associates. Diescher became the authority in designing inclines at the time. Originally, the cars used steam to operate. Later, the system was converted to electricity and motors. Today, motor-driven wheels wind and unwind cable, which eventually moves the cars. One of the unusual features of this system is that the cable is transferred at right angles to the incline to a wheel to stay within their property boundaries. At the site, there is an illustration that shows how the system works (be prepared to study it for a while).

Specs (ASME brochure):

Gauge: 5 ft
Length: 793 ft
Elevation: 400 ft
Angle of Incline: 30 degrees
Type of car: 1 compartment
Passenger capacity: 18 to 25
Speed: 4.03 mph
Annual ridership (1975): 575,022

In the 1960s, the Duquesne Incline was scheduled to be closed by the new Port Authority of Allegheny County. A groundswelling of support developed from mostly the residents on Washington Hill, and raised both support and funds to save the incline. Today, the incline is run by the Society for the Preservation of The Duquesne Heights Incline.

The incline base station is on W. Carson Street, while the top station is at Grandview Avenue. Two cars operate - one goes up as the other goes down. The car has a single level for the passengers, who sit on benches that ring the sides of the compartment. Below, there is room for baggage.

At the top, there is an observation deck where you can take in the view of downtown Pittsburgh, the Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio Rivers, and the surrounding area. Inside, there is an opportunity to see the machinery that makes the incline run.

Fares (2009):
Adult: $2.00
Children, 6-11: $1.00
Children under 6: Free

I happened to be in Pittsburgh on a convention for industrial history. This was part of one of the tours.

Additional Source:

(visit link)
Location:
1197 West Carson Street Pittsburgh, PA 15219


Type of structure/site: Incline Railway/Funicular

Date of Construction: 1877

Engineer/Architect/Builder etc.: Sam Diescher

Engineering Organization Listing: American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Web Site: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:
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