Lookout Mountain Incline Railway

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Lookout Mountain Incline Railway
A view down the 1-mile (1.6 km) length of the railway from the top of Lookout Mountain
Lookout Mountain Incline Railway is located in Tennessee
Lookout Mountain Incline Railway
Lookout Mountain Incline Railway is located in the United States
Lookout Mountain Incline Railway
Location3917 St. Elmo Avenue, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37409
Coordinates35°0′28″N 85°20′8″W / 35.00778°N 85.33556°W / 35.00778; -85.33556Coordinates: 35°0′28″N 85°20′8″W / 35.00778°N 85.33556°W / 35.00778; -85.33556
BuiltNovember 16, 1895 (123 years ago) (1895-11-16)
ArchitectJosephus "Jo" Conn Guild, Sr.
NRHP reference #73001774[1]
Added to NRHPApril 26, 1973

The Lookout Mountain Incline Railway is a 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge[2] inclined plane funicular railway leading to the top of Lookout Mountain from the historic St. Elmo neighborhood of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Passengers are transported from St. Elmo's Station at the base, to Point Park at the mountain summit, which overlooks the city and the Tennessee River. It is just a short drive to three of Chattanooga's main tourist attractions, Ruby Falls, Cavern Castle, and Rock City.[3] The railway is approximately one mile (1.6 km) in length (single-track except for a short two-track passing loop at the midway point, allowing operation of two cars at one time). It has a maximum grade of 72.7%, making it one of the world's steepest passenger railways.[4] It obtained Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark status in 1991. The cable system for the cars was made by the Otis Elevator Company.


The Incline Railway opened on November 16, 1895, and was the second of two inclines constructed on Lookout Mountain; the first was the Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain Railway, which operated from 1886 to 1898. The railway is now operated by the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority, the area's public transit agency.

The Incline Railway is a well-known and beloved Chattanooga landmark; the railway has been depicted in numerous regional and national publications, including being on TV, most prominently on Larry the Cable Guy's Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy in February 2011.[5]

A foggy day on the railway. Chattanooga is barely visible in the background.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ "Trams of the World 2017" (PDF). Blickpunkt Straßenbahn. January 24, 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 16, 2017. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  3. ^ Wohlfarth, J. (2007). See Rock City. Cincinnati Magazine, Vol. 41(Issue 1), P39-40, 2p.,
  4. ^ Directions and FAQ
  5. ^ Staff (February 16, 2011). "Incline Railway on the History Channel". Chattanoogan.com. Retrieved 26 March 2013.

External links[edit]