The conference center in Pittsburgh was my destination for a rail conference in June. I was there for several days but it was only on the last day that I managed to get some time to head up to the roof area of the center. It had some interesting gardens with views across the roof structure and some art installations. It also had a great view across the river. The top wasn’t the only interesting spot. There was a route under the center too which I found on my first day there when I was struggling with how to actually get into the place. It was not very intuitive which, given the nature of the place, seems rather odd. I saw a few people riding bikes through this lower level, but I never went down there.
Only when I was up on Mt Washington overlooking Pittsburgh did I see this old submarine moored on the Ohio River. It is part of the Carnegie Science Center and is the USS Requin – a Tench class submarine. She was built at the end of the Second World War and was activated just before hostilities ended. She then had a career in various roles before being struck from the fleet. Initially she was a museum piece in Florida but, after the organization preserving her folded, she eventually found her way to Pittsburgh and that is where she remains. If I go back, maybe I will get a chance to take a closer look.
At the end of my recent visit to Pittsburgh, I wrapped up my meetings and had lunch prior to heading to the airport. I did have about 90 minutes spare and was able to slot in a visit that I had thought about before going but that had slipped my mind for much of the visit when I was tied up with work stuff. This was to check out one of the incline railways that Pittsburgh has. Originally, there were twenty of these funicular railways on the hills surrounding Pittsburgh but now just two remain.
I chose to try the Duquesne Incline. My Uber driver told me that this was the better one as the view from the top covered the downtown better, but I won’t claim this was an informed choice on my part. However, I will take being lucky any time. The incline was built in the late 1800s to get workers from the industrial lands along the rivers to their homes up on the hills overlooking the city. There are two cars on individual tracks (not all funiculars are configured this way) with a cable connecting them after passing through the equipment room at the top of the hill. The weight of the cars counterbalances to a reasonable extent so the power required is only what is necessary to overcome any weight differential and the friction of the system.
At the top of the hill, you can walk down under the station to see the machinery at work. The sheaves reminded me of a visit many years ago to the Cable Car Barn in San Francisco. This is on a smaller scale, of course. Watching the cars heading up and down the grade was pretty cool and the viewing deck at the top provided a great view across the city. This is all part of the Pittsburgh transit system so you can use the Incline as a connection to your bus journey if you want. If you find yourself in Pittsburgh and have a little time, do check out either the Duquesne Incline or the Monongahela Incline. They are quite something.
I had to make a trip to Pittsburgh for a work conference. It has been nearly twenty years since I was last there, so I was keen to see how the city is. Pittsburgh has adapted to the post steel industry quite well and the downtown is not a bad place to visit. I did get out on my last day before I headed home and got some views of the area around the three rivers including shots from the convention center and some from the surrounding hills. Here are some of those shots.