In 1889, at the time of the Johnstown Flood, the Johnstown Incline was under construction, by the Cambria Iron Company, between Downtown Johnstown, Pennsylvania and a new housing development the Iron Company was building on the hill, which would later become the Borough of Westmont. The Johnstown Incline is the steepest vehicular incline in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Previously owned by Westmont Borough, it is now owned by the Cambria County Transit Authority and operated by the Cambria County Tourist Council.
A new, short incline is now in operation at the Horseshoe Curve historical site, just east of Altoona, Pennsylvania. This is the site of the famous Horseshoe Curve of the Pennsylvania Railroad, constructed as a means for heavy railroad trains to traverse the Allegheny Mountains of the Appalachian Mountain chain, thus connecting Pittsburgh with the eastern part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Prior to the construction of the Pennsylvania Railroad, across the Allegheny Mountains, a Pennsylvania Canal was built to compete with the Erie Canal in New York state and the Chesapeake and Potomac Canal in Maryland. The Pennsylvania Canal terminated in Pittsburgh, in a basin close to the present Pennsylvania Railroad Station and the Liberty Center office and hotel complex. There was also a canal tunnel under Downtown Pittsburgh(a tunnel separate from the former Pennsylvania Railroad tunnel under Downtown, now used by Pittsburgh's light rail subway system--what is left of Canal Street, in the Bigelow Square/Steel Plaza area of Downtown, approximates the location of the original Canal Tunnel), which led the Canal to a basin near the Monongahela River; a Canal aquaduct transported the Canal over the Allegheny River. Another Canal terminus was in Allegheny City, close to the present Canal Street in the Allegheny Center area of Pittsburgh's North Side.
A series of inclined planes, known as the Allegheny Portage Railroad, transported Canal boats and barges over the roughest part of the Allegheny Mountains. Although, there are no operating inclines remaining, a National Historic Site, near Cresson, Pennsylvania, tells the story of the inclines of the Allegheny Portage Railroad.
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