Canadian Transport Sourcebook

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Home > Rail Transport > Incline Railways

An incline railway, also known as a funicular, is a type of cable railway that traverses a steep slope. Several incline railways ran at one time or another in various places in Canada. Three of the most well-known were the Mountain Park Railway (also known as the Mount Royal Funicular Railway) in Montreal, the Hamilton and Barton Incline Railway in Hamilton, and the Wentworth Incline Railway (also known as the Hamilton Incline Railway), also in Hamilton.

The Mountain Park Railway operated from 1884 to 1918 and provided easy access for Montrealers to ascend Mount Royal. It was steam-driven and the cars were pulled by cables. In 1918 it closed after being found to be structurally unsound, and the railway was demolished in 1920.

The Hamilton and Barton Incline Railway operated from the foot of James Street up Hamilton Mountain. It opened around 1895 and ceased operations on December 26, 1931. The incline was operated using steam power.

The Wentworth Incline Railway operated from the fooot of Wentworth Street up Hamilton Mountain, somewhat to the east of the Hamilton and Barton Incline Railway. This railway opened in 1900. The motive power was originally steam, but the railway was converted to use electricity in 1915. Accidents were rare on this railway, but during the conversion from steam to electricity, a timber fell from the top of the railway and crushed a worker. By 1936 several additional roads, including the Sherman Cut, had been made to climb the mountain, and the Wentworth Incline Railway had become unprofitable. It closed on August 15 of that year.

Images:

East End Incline Railway, Hamilton, Ont. Canada Postcard
East End Incline Railway, Hamilton, Ont. Canada Postcard
View From the Mountain, Hamilton, Ont., Canada Postcard
View From the Mountain, Hamilton, Ont., Canada Postcard
Upper James Street, Hamilton, Ont., Canada Postcard
Upper James Street, Hamilton, Ont., Canada Postcard
Incline Railway, Montreal Postcard
Incline Railway, Montreal Postcard
Incline Railway, Mount Royal, Montreal Postcard
Incline Railway, Mount Royal, Montreal Postcard
View From the Mountain, Hamilton, Ont., Canada Postcard
View From the Mountain, Hamilton, Ont., Canada Postcard
Mount Royal Elevator
Mount Royal Elevator
The Incline Railway, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Postcard
The Incline Railway, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Postcard
East Incline Railway, Hamilton, Canada Postcard
East Incline Railway, Hamilton, Canada Postcard