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Monongahela Incline
Locale Pittsburgh, PA
Dates of operation 1870–present
Track gauge 5 ft  (1,524 mm)
Electrification 1935
Length 635 feet (194 m)
Headquarters Pittsburgh, PA

Coordinates: 40°25′55″N 80°00′19″W / 40.4319°N 80.0054°W / 40.4319; -80.0054

The Monongahela Incline, located near the Smithfield Street Bridge in Pittsburgh, is the oldest continuously operating funicular in the USA, and one of two surviving (the other is the nearby Duquesne Incline) from the original 17 passenger-carrying inclines built in Pittsburgh. Its lower station is across the street from the Station Square shopping complex, and is easily accessible from the light rail system at the Station Square station.



Pittsburgh's expanding industrial base in 1860 created a huge demand for labor, attracting mainly German immigrants to the region. This created a serious housing shortage as industry occupied most of the flat lands adjacent to the river, leaving only the steep, surrounding hillsides of Mt. Washington or "Coal Hill" for housing. However, travel between the "hill" and other areas was hindered by a lack of good roads or public transport.

The predominantly German immigrants who settled on Mt. Washington, remembering the Seilbahns (cable cars) of their former country, proposed the construction of inclines along the face of Coal Hill. The result was the Monongahela Incline, which opened May 28, 1870.[1]

It is operated by the Port Authority of Allegheny County, which operates the rest of Pittsburgh's transit system. Transfers can be made between the incline and the light rail and buses.

Incline in 1905.


  • Length: 635 feet (194 m)
  • Elevation: 369.39 feet (112.59 m)
  • Grade: 35 degrees, 35 minutes
  • Gauge: 5 foot
  • Speed: 6 MPH (10 km/h)
  • Passenger Capacity: 23 per car
  • Opened: 28 May 1870
  • Renovated: 1882 (with steel structure)
  • Original steam power replaced with electricity: 1935
  • Renovated: 1982-83 new track structure, cars and stations
  • Renovated: 1994 upper, lower stations, restored cars, replaced electric motors and controls[2]


The view from the top, upper station on right of picture

See also

External links




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