Spectacular views of the Pittsburgh cityscape await at the top of the steepest funicular railway in the United States.
Ride the Monongahela Incline to the top of Mount Washington and cast your eye back across the Pittsburgh skyline. You’ll soon see why this cityscape is often said to be one of the most picturesque in the United States. The U-shaped curve of the river, broken by the various shapes of the city’s famous bridges, forms a stunning border for the skyscrapers of downtown Pittsburgh. Beyond that, the plains of West Pennsylvania stretch to the horizon. The Monongahela Incline, or “the Mon” as locals call it, was originally built for Pittsburgh’s German immigrant population who lived on the upper reaches of Mount Washington, sometimes called Coal Hill. Built in 1870, the railway holds the accolade of being the oldest continuously used funicular in the country, as well as being the steepest, with a grade of 35 degrees. Today, it serves a dual purpose as both public transport for residents of Mount Washington and a tourist attraction. Purchase your ticket from the office across the road from the Station Square shopping complex. Step into a funicular car and glide at a speed of 6 miles (10 kilometers) per hour along the 635-foot (194-meter) line. Each car has been restored to resemble the original cars that the early coal miners would have ridden in; but don’t worry, the safety features are modern and secure. It’s just a short walk from the funicular to the 369-foot (112-meter) summit, where you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the Pittsburgh skyline. Stroll around the historic Mount Washington area, which still contains some of the original miners’ houses from the late 19th century. The Monongahela Incline lower station is located near the Smithfield Bridge, which connects to downtown Pittsburgh across the Monongahela River. To get to the ticket office from downtown, walk across the bridge or take public transportation. Local light rail, known as The T, and bus services stop at Station Square. The railway runs from early every morning until after midnight, with slightly shorter hours on Sundays and holidays.