Recently USA Today whipped up a listicle of 10 great streetcars, trams and funiculars found throughout the world, and Pittsburgh got a nod. Not surprising, right? The Duquesne Incline, in particular, is iconic, and the Monongahela is one of the oldest in the country.
Actually, it’s quite an honor to have made this list since it culled some of the greatest old-fashioned means of transportation from all over the globe. There were hundreds upon hundreds of transit lines to choose from.
Many inclines, both domestic and abroad, are no longer functioning, so it seems an embarrassment of riches that Pittsburgh is home to two, and that they’re ridden — for work and for play — and by locals and tourists alike.
Clearly, we know how to put the “fun” in funicular.
Here’s what USA Today had to say:
This hilly city is a natural for funiculars and once was home to more than a dozen different lines. They were built during Pittsburgh’s booming early years to serve steel workers and other laborers — most were European immigrants and quite familiar with the technology. Today, the two remaining lines serve the Mount Washington neighborhood and offer sweeping views of the Pittsburgh skyline. The Monongahela Incline, considered the oldest continuously operating funicular in the country, began operating in 1870. The Duquesne opened seven years later on the site of a former coal hoist. “It fits its right in with the personality of the city,” [Sam] Schwartz [of GridlockSam.com] says.