Johnstown Inclined Plane, Pennsylvania - Awesome Historic Landmark

Pennsylvania currently has 4 inclines in working condition, but the Johnstown Inclined Plane  is unique for a lot of different reasons. First, it is listed in the Guinness book of World records as the “The steepest vehicular inclined plane in the world”. What this means is that out of all the inclines that can carry vehicles, this is the steepest in the world. It has a slope of 35 degrees with a grade of 70.9 percent.
Watch the video above or read on
The fascinating part about the Johnstown incline is you that you can take your vehicle on it. The video above includes my dash cam video and you can see how the operator is directing me to drive into the incline. Now after I stop my engine, I can sit in the car or come out and you can see how my car is now chocked with these concrete blocks. This is absolutely necessary. Why? Because we are on the steepest vehicular incline and my car will start rolling downhill without these blocks.
Johnstown incline is also the largest incline in the world. The cars are currently about 34 feet long, 15 feet wide and 15 feet tall but the cars were originally double-deckers. So before they changed the design into a single-decker in 1921, the incline was much bigger and was two storied.  The upper deck was reserved for horses and wagons and the lower deck was used by passengers. They removed the upper deck because a few horses got spooked and jumped from the car onto the tracks below. So, even after removing the upper deck, the Johnstown incline is still the world’s largest funicular. 
Johnstown Incline holds a Guinness record for being the The steepest vehicular inclined plane in the world

There is a fascinating story behind its construction. Unlike other funiculars like the Duquesne Incline, the Johnstown incline was not created for transporting people up and down for everyday purposes. What happened was, in 1889 a huge flood nearly destroyed the entire town and killed over 2200 people. The residents realized that if they could build an incline that leads up to the hill, they could escape to higher ground in case of a flood. So this is the primary reason why this incline was built in 1891.
Inside the control room of Johnstown Inclined Plane
We have to give a lot of credit to the people who came up with this idea, because the incline saved more than 4,000 lives when another flood hit Johnstown in 1936. This incline operated continuously day and night during that time carrying a lot people to the mountain.Today it is recommended that only 60 people can ride this incline at one time, but during the flood, more than 150 people would ride it.  Johnstown incline even saved horses and other animals. There was also another flood in 1977 and the incline was instrumental in transporting people and equipment up the hill.
Johnstown funicular saved more than 4000 lives during 1936 floods
So you can see that this incline is not just a historic landmark, but also served the valuable purpose of saving lives. At one point, Pennsylvania had 18 working inclines or funiculars. But now, there are just 4 inclines that are still working, so they are all historic landmarks. But none of the others are large enough to carry vehicles and this one can carry 6 motorcycles, a dump truck, a snowplow and even a bus.
If you are a nerd, you might like this :)

Once upon a time, they even had a bus service that covered both the town below and the town on the hill. For example, the bus would basically carry passengers and then drive into this incline. The incline would take the bus above and the bus would drive through the streets on the hill.   At its prime time, Johnston incline had more than a million passengers every year. Nowadays, about 100,000 people use it, and they are all mostly tourists.
A pretty view of the entire city of Johnstown from the top
This is what you see from the observation deck on the hill, a beautiful view of the city of Johnstown. The view of Pittsburgh from Duquesne Incline is much better though.  The Forbes Magazine actually described Johnstown as the most affordable city in the United States.You can also see the incline cars going up and down from here. One weird thing about Johnstown Incline is that it is closed through the entire month of January.
There were steps between the tracks, and poor people used them instead of taking the incline
There used to be a stairway between these two tracks with about 1000 steps, but these were removed in 1963. They were constructed primarily for maintenance but people who didn’t have the money to pay the fare simply walked up and down using the stairway.  Can you guess the price of a one way ticket when it was first built? It was just 5 cents and now it costs 4 dollars. If you think that is depressing, read the story of Charlie NO FACE!


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