The Duquesne Incline

When I was in Pittsburgh, freezing my ass off on Heinz field waiting for the spectrum capture to run, I saw this weird looking set of tracks on a hill across the river.

It was the Duquesne Incline.

It’s an inclined railway that runs up the side of Mount Washington. There used to be several of these things, now there are only two. It was built in 1877 and it’s been in operation ever since. When it was first built it was steam powered. It was converted to electricity in 1932.

The lower station is in the foreground, the upper station is at the top of the tracks. You can see one of the cars at the top.

Duquesne Incline

Here’s a side view of the track. It’s about 800 feet long and rises 400 feet.

Duquesne Incline - Track

The main cable hoist drum at the top of the track. It is twelve feet in diameter and was installed in 1877. The large gear on the right has wooden teeth

Duquesne Incline - Cable Reel

Here you can see the main electric motor. It’s a 75 horsepower, 250 volt, 270 amp, 580 rpm direct current reversing motor, installed in 1932.

Duquesne Incline - Main Electrical Motor

Another shot of the track with the cars about to meet.

Duquesne Incline - cars on track

If you’re in Pittsburgh, try to make time to ride the incline. The view from the top is spectacular.

Duquesne Incline - View fom the Observation deck.

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