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The new Bellevue Incline

A better way to connect Downtown and Uptown and have some fun.

Alfred J. Berger, Jr.

on 14 April 2015

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Transcript of The new Bellevue Incline

If we could build the incline again to lift the new streetcar up the hill to Uptown how would it be done?
Use the old Bellview route and avoid the slope problems of the approved Streetcar extension.
Shortening the route will reduced the costs
This route will save on utility moving
Give passengers a ride of their lifetime.
Change the route change the vision
If we could build the incline again to lift the new streetcar up the hill to Uptown how would it be done?
Shortening the route will reduced the costs
Use the old Bellevue route and avoid the slope problems of the approved extension.
Save on in-ground utility moving
Give passengers a ride of their lifetime.
New Route Proposal
Shorter no Slope
What is new in the last one hundred and forty years
Technology has improved in the last 140 years. If we would build an incline now we would not need steam engines to hoist the cables. We would not use untreated wood that would rot in a few years. We would use the best we could to build a safe maintenance free incline that would give many years of service, using off the shelf parts and efficient maintenance designed in.
We could use powered hoists or cable driven cars to lift the streetcar and other passengers
Do not reinvent the wheel
How are heavy things moved now? We use hydraulic motors. They are safe efficient and the engineering has already been done. They move 120 ton cranes, dozers and locomotives. An incline powered by these motors would be safe. When a hydraulic motor stops it stops. With two or more motors there is a built in redundancy for additional safety. Several modern solutions to this problem are proposed.
Design the carriage better
The Bellevue incline right of way
A crane complete with cable jib motors and drums sells for less than $1million dollars. Throw away everything but the crawlers which have the motors in each side and your investment in motive power is reasonable.Use the crawler as is or use it as a cog track on each side of the rails for positive traction.
or, Keep the cable hoist using hydraulic motive force
Use existing road technology for the viaduct track.
Do not disturb the hillsides but core drill into the bedrock for the pilasters for track support.
Off the shelf existing motive power
Cost Benefit Considerations
This alternate route saves 6,387 ft. (1.2 miles) of track. The current cost per mile is in the order of $35 million dollars.Track reduction costs can cover the incline costs.
The alternate route saves 2557 feet of underground utility moving
Bicycle connection between uptown and downtown could spaun increased usage.
Walk on passengers are a tourist benefit
Streetcar patrons get a WOW ride
The Problem
The Cincinnati Streetcar circulator while still controversial is now being built. This tracked streetcar system will effectively connect the dots of development within the central city core.
Funding issues during the financial crisis hampered the plan to include Uptown in the circular system. While there was much support from the area, and the voters prevailed, there was also much skepticism and a feeling from a sizable minority of citizens, that the project would waste funds and effort. They felt that the streetcar did not affect them especially in the outlying areas so it was a waste of resources.
The opportunity
Where the inclines went
Over the years all of the inclines disappeared. Pittsburgh, PA has two remaining inclines and now these two antiques bring crowds of tourists just to ride the hills. If we had a working incline here and now it would be a popular tourist attraction.
Cincinnati was unique in that some of its inclines hoisted streetcars up the slopes to Uptown with ease. The passengers kept their seats and enjoyed the view. It was a very popular ride and the traffic spawned beer halls at the top of the inclines which werer quite popular. Could we build a new modern incline today to solve some problems and have some fun?
Change the route change the vision
The new designed carriage is nested within the rails and could not either tip over or run off the track.
A better design could have a much lower center of gravity. The improved design also enables a longer payload in a more stable position.
Early photos show inclines held up by spindly framework the back end stuck high in the air. There were no cases of inclines tipping over but just the look of them makes you wonder.
Look at our beautiful City
The incline route saves over a mile of track to get to Uptown at capital significant savings that could be used to build the incline.
The New Route is the old Route
Incline Route, same as 140 years ago Elm St. to Bellevue Park
The New Bellevue Incline
Cable powered
Duel crawlers
Quad crawlers
The route
We now have an opportunity to re-look at the expansion plans to extend the streetcar to Uptown, a major employment center. We have learned several things since beginning construction on the streetcar project.
The grade between the two centers has always been an issue but the moving of buried utilities for the project has become much more expensive than estimated and this has both added to the budget and the criticism from the project’s detractors.
There also is no WOW factor to get high majorities of our citizens on board. This plan hopes to solve these issues and make the streetcar project a once in a lifetime opportunity for the development of our City. In years to come our citizens will look back at our decisions with pride.
Less than 1,000 feet from downtown to uptown
A 30% grade that can be climbed by a high crane or cog wheel railroad.
The Incline would runs from Elm St. downtown (on the existing streetcar route) to Bellevue Park at the end of Ohio Ave. in Uptown
The streetcar would enter UC area at Moerlein St. and return to Bellevue on Clifton Ave.
Only 30% grade
Less than 1,000 feet
Saves 1.2 miles of track
Solves the slope of Vine Street.
Gives riders a wonderful view of our City
Think about it
Think about it!
Quad Icline Study
Using two sets of crane crawlers
Cog Wheel Railroad
Looking north
At Elm St Incline path

Lookinh south down the incline path to Elm St.
Looking north top of incline at Bellevue then on to uptown by streetcar
Belleview Park
Incline route around west side of Bellevue looking from Bellevue south down to Elm St.
Flat areawest of Bellevue hiding streetcars and incline
Streetcar route below Bellevue Park from incline in uptown looking north to Sauer St.
Double tracks in Sauer St. Right of way looking north to UC
Streetcar route looking south to Incline and Bellevue Park
Streetcar route north of incline and Bellevue Park looking south
Yellow is streetcar line
Grey is incline line
Quad Crawler Study
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