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Price Hill Incline: 1906

Price Hill Incline: 1906

"Price Hill Incline." Part of the Cincinnati streetcar and freight elevator system circa 1906. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.


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The Johnstown incline still operates

Built in 1891 in response to the disaster of 1889, it is 896 feet long on a 71 percent grade. Supposedly the steepest in the world. I have ridden it many times. You can put your vehicle on too. Beautiful panorama from the top of a valley of much railroad & industrial history and human tragedy.

Crazy Steep at 44.6 degrees

I think the steepest street in the world is in San Fran at 21 degrees. Truckers will tell you they see warnings and runaway truck ramps when there is a long 7 degree grade on the highways. Amazing how the incline railways can handle such steep grades.

Marked Down

No one wants to go to Price Hill anymore. That is now an impoverished and high crime area.

Fare Comparison

That 5 cents fare in 1894 is about $1.24 today.

The 85 cents charge for "heavily loaded trucks" would be about $21.

Things haven't changed that much in real terms.


I am still amazed by these very clever devices. What a grand solution to the elevation problem and kudos to those intrepid citizens of Cincinnati that rode those streetcars. I wonder what it was like to go up one of these devices?

Trips Every 3 Min.

The Street Railway Journal, Vol. X, 1894.

Price Hill Inclined Plane Railway of Cincinnati.

The Price Hill incline is designed for both passenger and freight traffic. The two lines are located near to each other, but are operated from separate stations. The passenger traffic is transferred from the street cars to the cab of the incline, and at the top of the hill a second transfer is made to connect with the lines on the upper plane. The freight section is designed for vehicle traffic, and the cars are capable of taking three or four heavily loaded wagons with teams at a trip. This is the only one of the Cincinnati inclines that has not been before described in these columns. The tracks are 800 ft. in length, and are laid on an average of 44.6 per cent., making a total rise of 350 ft. During the morning and evening hours, or when traffic is heavy, trips are made every three minutes. The incline carried about 1,000,000 passengers in 1893. The fare is five cents, except where the trip is to be continued, when five cents includes the street car fare into the city. On the other line the round trip for ordinary vehicles is twenty-five cents, and for heavily loaded trucks eighty-five cents.

The freight incline is operated by a 200 H. P., poppet valve, duplicate engine, manufactured by Frisbie of Cincinnati. The winding drums are thirteen feet in diameter. The passenger engines are 100 H. p., manufactured by John Cooper & Company, Mt. Vernon, O. They have been in service since 1875, and are still in good condition. The power station is located at the top of the incline, and adjoining it is a park and summer garden, well shaded and provided with rustic seats and with a railing along the edge of the bluff.


Was there any sort of locking mechanism to prevent it from free-falling in case of cable break?

Passengers on the left

The "planes" on the right hauled wagon and carriage traffic, while the ones on the left ran permanently mounted passenger cars. The Price Hill incline never carried streetcars. It's surely sad that at one time Cincinnati had a half dozen inclines that are all gone today.

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