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Duquesne Incline

Coordinates: 40°26′21″N 80°1′5″W / 40.43917°N 80.01806°W / 40.43917; -80.01806
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Duquesne Incline
HeadquartersPittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Locale1220 Grandview Ave., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Dates of operationMay 17, 1877 (1877-05-17)[1]–present
Track gauge5 ft (1,524 mm)
Length800 feet (244 m)
Duquesne Incline
Duquesne Incline is located in Pittsburgh
Duquesne Incline
Duquesne Incline is located in Pennsylvania
Duquesne Incline
Duquesne Incline is located in the United States
Duquesne Incline
Coordinates40°26′21″N 80°1′5″W / 40.43917°N 80.01806°W / 40.43917; -80.01806
ArchitectSamuel Diescher
Architectural styleSecond Empire, T pattern
NRHP reference No.75001609[2]
Added to NRHPMarch 4, 1975

The Duquesne Incline (/djˈkn/ dew-KAYN) is a funicular located near Pittsburgh's South Side neighborhood, scaling Mt. Washington in the United States. Designed by Hungarian-American engineer Samuel Diescher, the incline was completed in 1877.

The lower station is in the Second Empire style. Together with the incline, which rises 400 feet (122 m) in height, at a 30-degree angle, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The incline is unusual for using a 5 ft (1,524 mm) track gauge, mainly used in Finland, Russia, and Mongolia.

Together with the Monongahela Incline, it is one of two passenger inclines still in operation on Pittsburgh's South Side. By 1977, the two had become tourist attractions and together served more than one million commuters and tourists annually.[3] That year both inclines were designated as Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmarks by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).


Originally steam powered, the Duquesne Incline was designed by Samuel Diescher, a Hungarian-American civil engineer based in Pittsburgh, and completed in 1877. The incline is 800 feet (244 m) long, 400 feet (122 m) in height, and is inclined at a 30-degree angle. Its track gauge is 5 ft (1,524 mm), which is unusual for United States (but standard for Finland, Russia, and Mongolia[4]).

Diescher is known for having designed the majority of inclines in the United States, including several in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania, in addition to numerous other industrial and highway projects.

The incline was intended to carry cargo up and down Mt. Washington in the late 19th century. It later carried passengers, particularly Mt. Washington residents who were tired of walking up the steep footpaths to the top of the bluff. Inclines were being built all over Mt. Washington to serve working-class people who were forced out of the lowlying riverfront by industrial development.

But as more roads were built in the twentieth century on “Coal Hill”, as it was known, and automobile use increased, most of the other inclines were closed. By the end of the 1960s, only the Monongahela Incline and the Duquesne Incline remained in operation.

In 1962, the Duquesne Incline was closed, apparently for good. Major repairs were needed, and with so few patrons, the incline's private owners did little. But local Duquesne Heights residents launched a fund-raiser to help restore the incline. It was a huge success, and on July 1, 1963, the incline reopened under the auspices of a non-profit organization dedicated to its preservation.

The incline has since been totally refurbished. The cars, built by the J. G. Brill and Company of Philadelphia, have been stripped of paint to reveal the original wood. An observation deck was added at the top affording a view of Pittsburgh's "Golden Triangle". The Duquesne Incline is now one of the city's most popular tourist attractions. In 1975 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. By 1977 the two remaining passenger inclines served more than one million commuters and tourists annually. That year both inclines were designated as Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmarks[3] by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).[5]


  • Length: 793 feet (242 m)
  • Elevation: 400 feet (122 m)
  • Grade: 30 degrees
  • Gauge: 5 ft (1,524 mm) broad gauge
  • Speed: 4.03 mph (6.49 km/h)
  • Passenger Capacity: 18 to 25 (one compartment)
  • Opened: May 20, 1877
  • Renovated: 1888 (with steel structure)
  • Rebuilt: Original steam power replaced with electricity: 1935
  • Renovated: Historic cars restored in 1970s[5]

In popular culture[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Duquesne Incline Plane". The Daily Post. Pittsburgh. May 18, 1877. p. 4.
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Leherr, Dave (7 May 1977). "Inclines Rise to National Landmarks". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 9.
  4. ^ "Monongahela and Duquesne Inclines" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-08-16. Retrieved 2009-05-21.
  5. ^ a b "Monongahela and Duquesne Inclines" (PDF). ASME. 11 May 1977.
  6. ^ "Yinztagram By Pegula". iTunes Store. Apple Inc. 2012. Archived from the original on August 28, 2012. Retrieved December 13, 2012.

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