Castle Shannon Incline

The Castle Shannon Incline was a funicular railroad in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was originally part of the Pittsburgh and Castle Shannon Railroad route to the suburb of Castle Shannon. It replaced an earlier incline dating to 1825 that brought coal down from a mine in Mount Washington.

Castle Shannon Incline
--Castle Shannon Incline car
OwnerPittsburgh Railways
LocaleMount Washington, Pittsburgh (mountain)
Coordinates40°25′45″N 80°00′09″W / 40.4292°N 80.0026°W / 40.4292; -80.0026
OpenedAugust 26, 1890
ClosedJune 21, 1964
Line length1,375 feet (419 m)[1]
Track gauge10 ft (3,048 mm)[1]

History Edit

Initially opened on August 26, 1890,[2] the incline operated for only a few days before breaking down,[3] the original machinery being unable to bear the strain of the large freight and passenger cars.[4] After a second abortive run in October, it was decided that the machinery had to be replaced.[5][6] The refitted incline opened on March 7, 1891.[7] It ran from Bailey Avenue west of Haberman Avenue down to Carson Street just west of Arlington Avenue.[8]

The oldest part of the Pittsburgh and Castle Shannon Railroad was a coal mine in Mount Washington. When the mine was played out in 1861, the company opened the back (south) side of the mine and continued it down a horseshoe curve into the Saw Mill Run valley to other coal mines. The company began passenger service in 1874 to develop towns at Fair Haven (Overbrook) and Castle Shannon. Trains ran up the old incline, through the enlarged coal mine tunnel, down the slope and horseshoe curve, and through the valley. Improvements starting in 1890 replaced the route over Mount Washington with the new incline, which became known as Castle Shannon Incline No. 1 when a second less steep incline was built on the south side as Castle Shannon Incline No. 2 in 1892. From that date, the old incline, the coal tunnel, and the railroad down through the horseshoe curve were used only for coal trains and not passengers.

The incline's large cars were able to carry both passengers and wagons, and later automobiles. In 1909, steam railroad passenger service on the Pittsburgh and Castle Shannon Railroad was replaced by electric cars of the Pittsburgh Railways that ran through the Mount Washington Transit Tunnel (still in use today). No longer part of a through route, Incline No. 2 soon became superfluous, but development of a residential area on top of Mount Washington kept Incline No. 1 in business. Originally steam powered, it was converted to electrical operation in 1918 by the Otis Elevator Company.[9] Following much deliberation in the 1950s,[10][11][12][13] the incline was closed June 21, 1964.[14][15][16]

Visible remnants Edit

The site of the bottom of the incline is still visible as a gravel slope next to Carson Street where the bus lane joins. Up from there, it passes under existing bridges carrying a railroad, East Sycamore Street, and the P. J. McArdle Roadway. Farther up, Cola Street ends at the incline site. The bottom is near the now-popular Station Square.

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b "The Inclined Planes". The Street Railway Journal Souvenir: 38–39. October 1891 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ "Running at Last". The Pittsburg Press. August 26, 1890. p. 7 – via Google News.
  3. ^ "Still Another Breakdown". The Pittsburg Dispatch. August 31, 1890. p. 2 – via Library of Congress.
  4. ^ "The Castle Shannon Incline". The Pittsburgh Post. October 18, 1890. p. 2 – via  
  5. ^ "Operations Again Suspended". The Pittsburg Press. October 16, 1890. p. 2 – via Google News.
  6. ^ "Local Items, Limited". The Pittsburg Dispatch. October 8, 1890. p. 6 – via Library of Congress.
  7. ^ "His Hand Torn Off". The Pittsburg Press. March 9, 1891. p. 7 – via Google News.
  8. ^ "Pittsburgh Inclines Tribute". Pittsburgh Railways. May 20, 2001. Retrieved November 15, 2008.
  9. ^ "Pittsburgh and Castle Shannon Railroad HAER no. PA-410" (PDF). Library of Congress. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  10. ^ "Anybody Want An Incline In Good Running Order?". Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph. July 8, 1957. p. 9 – via  
  11. ^ "100 Incline Users Fight Death Knell". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. July 10, 1957. p. 17 – via  
  12. ^ "Fight to Keep Their Incline". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 1, 1957. p. 17 – via  
  13. ^ "County Commission Raps Incline Closing". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 12, 1962. p. 23 – via  
  14. ^ "The Early Years at PAT". The Antique Motor Coach Association of Pennsylvania. September 15, 2006. Retrieved May 9, 2009.
  15. ^ "The Overbrook Saga: 1870s-1993". Pittsburgh Railways. Retrieved November 15, 2008.
  16. ^ "Shannon Incline Shut for Repairs: May Never Be Reopened". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 17, 1964. p. 25 – via  

External links Edit

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