Monday, May 10, 2010

Important Update on the Mon Incline

If you ride the Monongahela Incline, you’re probably aware that it has been out of service since Friday afternoon. Due to the need to replace cables, we are now expecting that it will remain out of service for at least the rest of this week.

On Friday we shut the incline down to conduct an annual test of the incline’s two cables. During the test we discovered they had incurred wear-and-tear to the point that required us to shut the incline down and replace the cables. At no time prior to the shutdown were riders endangered by the condition of these cables – our policy is to replace the cables before any safety issues can develop.

We are replacing the haul cable, which does the work of moving the incline cars up and down the rails, and the safety cable, which acts as a backup to the haul cable. Both are about 800 feet long, 1-1/4 inches thick and made of heavy steel wires twisted together into a rope. Each cable has a carrying capacity of about 80 tons, but the incline only weighs about half of that. While we determined the cables had worn and needed to be replaced, the carrying capacity was still well within safety parameters.

The safety cable last was replaced in 2006 and the haul cable in 2003. We got a lot of use out of both – they just reached the end of their useful life. We anticipated buying new cables in the fiscal year 2011 capital budget – this just came a bit sooner than planned.

Unfortunately, this maintenance work isn’t a quick fix – more cable had to be ordered, and we’re waiting on its delivery. We expect to receive the cable at the end of this week, and installation will follow. At this point we expect the Mon Incline to be back up and running sometime next week. If that changes, we’ll let you know.

During the service outage we’ve been providing shuttle buses between the upper and lower incline stations to minimize disruption to commuters who rely on the Incline. We will continue to attempt to provide bus service to the incline, either in the form of a shuttle bus or by rerouting the 41E Mt. Washington bus route.

We regret that at this time we cannot guarantee availability of bike racks on shuttle buses.

In the event that there is a disruption of shuttle bus service, the 41E can be picked up on its regular route a couple of blocks from the upper incline station at the intersection of Virginia and Shiloh, just a few minutes’ walk from the station. During weekday peak periods the 43E Mt. Washington Express bus can also be picked up at this intersection.

The Duquesne Incline is operating normally. If you have any questions about the Duquesne Incline, please visit or call 412-381-1665.

We apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced as a result of this outage. Please stay tuned to this blog, our Twitter feed, our website and your local media for more updates.


  1. Thanks for the update. Better safe than sorry.

  2. As a rider I do not feel Port Authority is doing enough with the Incline Shuttle. The posted signs on the downtown end of the incline are confusing. It would help more to have signs saying from 5:30 am to 3 pm board here, from 3 pm to 12:45 am board here. I have ridden the shuttle 3 times this week between 8:30 pm and 9:30 pm and have boarded it a different place each time. Sunday night the driver stopped directly in front of the incline. Monday night the driver used the stop before the Wasbash Tunnel (he made a right turn into the Wabash Tunnel). Wednesday night the driver made a left hand turn into the Wabash Tunnel then opened his doors on the Wabash Tunnel outbound lane. (I did not appreciate the driver chastising us riders about not being at the right stop. I read the sign and was at the correct stop. He did not go into Station Square and turn around.) I also find the amount of time between shuttles unreasonable. If I use the incline there will be approximately one leaving every 4-5 minutes, meaning I will be able to catch one of 12-15 incline rides per hour. I am now waiting a minimum of 25 minutes from the time I get off a bus from South Side before a shuttle shows (this has happened all 3 nights). While I concede that it is unreasonable to expect 15 shuttle trips in a hour, it is certainly reasonable to have 4 shuttle trips up and 4 shuttle trips down per hour. There should be two shuttles--one at the top, one at the bottom. The bottom one (after evening rush hour) could sit in the inbound side of the Wabash Tunnel where it would not interfere with outbound cars. The top one would be outside the incline. Riders could then board and sit where it is dry, warm, and safe (like they do with the incline). While there is some traffic on Carson Street, it is dark where the bus stops are. The shuttles would both leave their respective stations on the hour, quarter after the hour, half past the hour, and quarter to the hour. It took me one and a half hours on Sunday to go from South Side to Mt. Washington because of the reduced Sunday schedule and long wait for an incline shuttle. Monday and Wednesday took me 45 minutes to travel that same path. When the incline is running I can be in my home in 30 minutes. Please put more shuttles on after rush hours. Someone else will need to comment on the daylight shuttle schedule as I have not used it yet.

  3. While I did not ride the incline shuttle tonight coming home from South Side, I noticed that the incline shuttle was at the stop before the Wabash Tunnels (had to make a right turn into the tunnel) and left at 9:15 pm. I missed it by 200 yards so I opted to take the 41E at 9:25 pm at Station Square. As the 41E crossed Carson Street I noticed another shuttle stopping at the inbound Carson Street stop at 9:25 pm. If you are currently running 4 shuttles an hour after rush hour, I thank you. I will know for sure this weekend when I need the shuttle again.

  4. The Mon Incline is expected to resume normal service on Monday morning.