Facts and Figures of The Duquesne Incline, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

History of The Duquesne Incline,
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania -
Facts and Figures

Operated by the Society for the Preservation of
The Duquesne Heights Incline
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Dedicated to the preservation of that which cannot be replaced.

Facts and Figures

The first incline structure was part wood and part iron, but it was rebuilt entirely of iron in 1888. The total length is 793 feet, the grade is 58.5 per cent or 30.5 degrees, and the total rise is 400 feet. The lower 360 feet of Incline roadway crosses the Consolidated Rail Corporation(ConRail) tracks and right-of-way(previously the Panhandle Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and later the Penn-Central Railroad). Here the Incline roadway is built of five-foot riveted girders in spans of sixty feet. The remaining portion is constructed of twenty-four-inch riveted girders in thirty-foot spans. The gauge is five feet, the double trackway is twenty feet wide, and there is a three-foot gap between cars at the passing point(the point exactly in the middle of the Inclined Plane right-of-way, between the Upper and Lower Stations of the Incline).

Hoisting equipment of Duquesne

The original steam drive was converted to electricity in 1932. Forty years later, Westinghouse rectifiers replaced the first electrical equipment, providing a modern, maintenance-free drive system for the Incline. Motion is communicated to the cars by means of a cast-iron drum carrying two one-and-one-eighth-inch(1 1/8-inch) steel-wire cables. Each cable is approximately 900 feet long and capable of sustaining a perpendicular strain of 50 tons. The actual working strain is about one-twentieth(1/20) of that amount.

A safety cable is also in constant use. It passes around a system of sheaves so arranged that should the working cable break, the safety cable can takeup the load. A hand-operated airbrake can bring sufficient friction to bear upon the cable drum to stop its rotation as well as the rotation of the sheaves carrying the safety cable.

The single drum is twelve feet in diameter and three feet, ten inches wide. It has grooved periphery into which both pulling cables wind. The original cable drum and the original wooden-toothed drive gear are still in use and operate perfectly. Replacement teeth of aged rock maple are on hand to be inserted when needed. The continued survival in good condition of this equipment is an outstanding tribute to the engineering skills of the designers and builders of the nineteenth century.

An unusual feature of The Duquesne Incline is the location of the hoisting machinery at right angles with the plane. This method was adopted initially to save the expense of buying an additional piece of real estate. One of the results has been that both working cables are wound on the single, grooved drum.

In the beginning rollers of locust and gumwood were placed at regular distances between the rails to bear the cables in their passage above the ties. Now these rollers have been replaced with small cast-iron sheaves or "idlers," but some of the originals remain in the shop as museum pieces.

Each Incline car is designed to carry twenty-five people per trip. On average, the cars move at appoximately 320 feet per minute. For passenger protection, The Duquesne Incline is equipped with a diesel auxilary generator, which permits the continued operation of the Incline, in the event of a power failure.

The Duquesne Incline Statistics

Opened to Public: May 20, 1877
Cost to Build: $147,000
Total Rise: 400 feet
Degree of Slope: 58.5 percent
Average Speed of Cars: 320 feet per minute
Number Passengers per Car per trip: 25
Length of Trackage: 794 feet
Current Duquesne Incline Fares: Click Here

The Duquesne Incline Fares of the Past:

1877 May 20 - Base Fare: $0.05
1991 January 1 - Base Fare: $1.00
2001 April 1 - Base Fare: $1.60 - Link 1 *** Link 2
2002 September 1 - Base Fare: $1.75 - Link 1 *** Link 2
2008 January 1 - Base Fare: $2.00 - Link 1 *** Link 2
2011 January 1 - Base Fare: $2.25 - Link 1 *** Link 2
2012 July 1 - Base Fare: $2.50 - Link 1 *** Link 2

Current Fares: Click Here

Technical information, regarding The Duquesne Incline,
from the book(German Language) "Schienenseilbahnen in aller Welt"
von Walter Hefti, Birkhauser verlag Basel, Switserland, 1975, ISBN 3-7643-0726-9

Early History of The Duquesne Incline

Rescue and Later History of The Duquesne Incline

Samuel Diescher, Builder of The Duquesne Incline

Other Pennsylvania Inclines

Chronology of Pittsburgh Inclines

Observation Deck, with Beautiful Downtown View

Airport Busway Project and Proposed Duquesne Incline Station

From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 1, 1997:
The incline builders: Forgotten engineers of Pittsburgh

From the Pittsburgh City Paper, April 29, 1998:
You Had to Ask: After Closing of the Troy Hill Incline

History of Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie Libraries

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