Pittsburgh is quite an old city with a history reflected in its old neighborhoods, old buildings, old streets and a reputation for once being THE leading steel and glass producing city in the country. In other words, Pittsburgh has a particular identity.
The Duquesne Incline is part of Pittsburgh's historical identity and also a unique mode of transportation. The Duquesne Incline built in 1887 and still working today seems to fit the character of the city and what's more, has a special place in the heart of the residents. The Incline, one of few remaining in the USA, has carried passengers from Grandview Avenue on Coal Hill (now Mt. Washington) down to W. Carson Street and back for over 100 years. Today visitors and townsfolk can scale the 400 ft. incline at a 30 degree angle in the original, restored cable cars just as it was in 1877.
The members of the Society for the Preservation of the Duquesne Heights Incline restored the Incline (station houses and rooms, cable cars, etc.) in 1963. The cable drum and wooden-toothed gears that you see operating are the originals as are the cable cars with their cherry and maple wood, glass transoms and hardward!
The Grandview Avenue station house and museum are unbelievably interesting with walls covered in pictures and momentos of Pittsburgh and the Incline itself. A tiny gift shop sells a few special items, books, pictures and postcards with the proceeds going toward the continued upkeep of the incline and the museum. A small brochure is also available for the asking.. In the middle of the station house is the operator's perch above the incline itself, and to either side of him are the small embarkation and debarkation areas.
The fare is $2.00 for adults each way; $1.00 for children 6 - 11yrs; senior citizens 65 yrs. and older are free with ID. Fares include transfers to downtown Pittsburgh! Fares are payable at the lower station house on W. Carson Street where there is plenty of free parking.
Since the incline is also used by local commuters, it's hours of operation are from 5:30 am to 12:45 am!!
Do not miss taking advantage of the observation deck for some of the most spectacular views of Pittsburgh!
We began our visit to the Duquesne Incline by taking the ride down to the W. Carson St. lower station house level and walking along the riverfront. But it was very worthwhile to pay extra and ride it back to the top at Grandview Avenue again and spending time enjoying the little jewel of a museum in the waiting room of the upper level station --and it is charming! The admission is also free!
This quaint-looking, upper level station house has been restored inside and out, and I imagine it looks much as it did when the incline was built in 1877 except that inside several walls are covered with pictures and memorabilia not only of the incline but with photographs of the views of Pittsburgh from Mt. Washington (Coal Hill). Glass cases with interesting displays line the hall which leads to the observation deck. Little benches here and there must have been the resting spot for passengers since Victorian times. There is even a machine where you insert a penny (plus 50!!)cents turn the gear and it makes an impression picture of the incline as a souvenir.
One corner of the waiting room houses the little gift shop which is enclosed by glass is so small that it is only large enough for the sales clerk to sit behind the counter. I purchased postcards and a magnet, though I would have also liked to buy a book about the inclines and their history in Pittsburgh, I resisted the temptation. Sales from the little shop go toward the maintenance and operation of the incline.
Right in the middle of the station house waiting room is the incline's "wheel house" or operator's room and where the hoisting equipment can be seen. It's quite fascinating to think that all the machinery is the original thing!
An even older incline, the "Monongahela Incline" is several years older than the Duquesne and is also still in operation. It is nearby and runs between the same two streets as does the Duquesne Incline. One source stated that "In the heyday of the funicular, hilly Pittsburgh had 15 such inclines. Two remain: the Monongahela Incline, built in 1870, and the Duquesne Incline, built in 1877 (trfn.clpgh.org/incline)."
The Duquesne Incline has been placed on the National Register of Historical Places.
We really enjoyed riding the incline, taking photos from the observation deck and the museum itself. Several restaurants are nearby for enjoying this area even more if you have the extra time!
Since May 20, 1877, this incline has been serving the residents of Duquesne Heights and Mount Washington sections of the City of Pittsburgh. Using two original, 1877 cable cars, the Duquesne Incline is a working museum. The Upper Station, on Grandview Avenue, includes displays regarding the history of the Incline and the City of Pittsburgh, and pictures of other cable and rail cars from around the world.
I haven't been on a roller coaster in almost 10 years, and going up this incline scared the bee-geezes out of me! I felt like a kid again, it was a little scary, especially when the door appears not to shut properly. My stomach dropped and it was so much fun. Plus you can't beat the views from the top!
The old-fashioned buildings are in need of repair, but it may actually add to the ambience of the experience.
Great hours, Mon-Sat 5:30 a.m. - 12:45 A.M.
Sundays 7:00 a.m. - 12:45 A.M.
Price: $1.75 per adult, each way. Extensive information for diasabled and senior passengers on website.
Free incline parking at the bottom, use the walkway across to the building. Will need exact change for fare. Change machine on site. Pronounced "Do-Cane".
Ride the Incline. Two inclines are still in operation. One is run by the city the other a private group. Buy a roundtrip pass and go up one, walk about a half mile and go down the other. Many views of the city scape are avaliable between the two inclines. Spend some at the top of the Duquesne Incline ( run by the private group). This has the better veiw of the city and a good history of the incline system. The purpose of the inclides was to take the city worker from downtown to the suburb of Mt Washington.
The Duquesne Incline is one of only three such inclines left operating (the nearby Monongahela Incline is one of the others). From the top of the incline and even within the incline, it provides the best view of Pittsburgh, which truly has a beautiful skyline! For 50 cents you can go down to see the gears and inner workings of the incline as it travels.
The incline is still used for travel, so the fare to go up and back down is $4.
Pronounced "du-KAYNE", this is the other incline, or funicular, in Pittsburgh. This one is to the west of the Monongahela Incline. Built in 1877, it has a length of 793 feet and a grade of 30 degrees.
Like the other incline, it is used by commuters as well as visitors, and has a tremendous view from the top.
Onced used as public transportion to navigate Pittsburgh's steep inclines this railway has now been converted into a tourist attraction. Fare is $3 round trip and the views from the top are well worth the price.
The Duquesne Incline is a funicular/rail car that takes you up Mt. Washington and overlooks downtown Pittsburgh - from the perspective of being more “in front” of Point State Park. From there you can see the north shore, downtown, and all three rivers. The ride costs only a couple of dollars each way, but make sure you have exact change when you go. Sometimes the cashier is a bit moody. You have to feed the dollars into a machine, as you don’t actually hand them to the person behind the counter. It’s an interesting experience, and the views at the top are awesome – day and night. Oh, and you’ll find lots of interesting information and photos at the top of the incline too. It’s a stop you should make if you visit Pittsburgh. You can drive up there too, but just take the rail car and enjoy it!