Inclined Plane

<img src="/images/Multi_Media/wearecentralpa/nxd_media/img/jpg/2008_08/cfa2339e-9346-64b4-156f-133587c38864/raw.jpg" alt=" " style="width: 200px; height: 135px" align="left" height="135" width="200" />Johnstown home to steepest vehicular incline.<br />
JOHNSTOWN, CAMBRIA COUNTY --- It's the world's steepest vehicular incline.  Johnstown's inclined plane was built after the great flood in 1889.  It was made to help evacuations and rescues run smoothly in the event of another flood.  The idea paid off not once but twice, with the 36 and 77 floods. 

"It was used to get people out of the valley quickly as well as get emergency equipment down into the valley to help people and rescue people," CAMTRAN Director Rose Lucey-Noll said.

The first cars were double deckers; people went on the bottom while their horses and wagons rode up top.  Those cars were replaced in 1926 by the ones still running today.  At the time it was bragged they could carry three Model T’s at once.  The first motor was a steam engine, but that too was replaced in the early 1900's with an electric motor.  Over the years the incline ran 24 hours a day, carrying people from work in the mills to the growing hilltop community. 

"The borough, Westmont borough, started to evolve as a neighborhood and a lot of people started living up there.  It was much easier to ride the incline to get to the top of the hill and get to here as opposed to using the old Menoher, which was more difficult to traverse at that time," Lucey-Noll said.

As the mills closed, commuter ridership slowed.  The inclined plane changed hands several times before the county transit authority took ownership in 1983.  Now it's one of the biggest tourist attractions in town. 

"We have over 100,000 riders a year who come here to ride the incline.  We have a lot more even who just visit the visitor's center at the top.  We have a restaurant, the city view bar and grill, as well as the observation deck that gives you a fantastic view of the valley below," Lucey-Noll said.

With higher gas prices many people are once again turning to the incline for transportation.  This summer, hours have been adding during the morning commute, and ridership has increased.

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