Light Rail

Funicular Railway in Hamilton?

By Jason Leach
Published September 22, 2006

Chalk one up for Crazy Coincidence.

Earlier today I sent an email to some other RTH writers and downtown business leaders with a link to a website about a funicular railway in Quebec.

In the email I said, "Imagine riding one of these from Sam Lawrence Park down to Ferguson Avenue or over the top of the Jolley Cut to John/James Street area. It would be great for cyclists, pedestrians, tourists and an exciting addition to Hamilton's transportation network. It's certainly not a new idea. Hamilton had two of these in operation for many years until the early 1900's."

A mere few hours later and this news story comes across the wire: "Hamilton ponders rail line up the mountain".

This is one idea that would be more than welcome to our city. Imagine a restaurant/café with a patio overlooking the city at Sam Lawrence Park or Mountain Park. Other cities would kill to have an escarpment view like ours, and I'm certain that every other city would have had a restaurant/patio or two in operation by now with this majestic view.

Hamilton sometimes thinks of these ideas only to toss them away when a few NIMBY's speak out against them. Perhaps the very fact that this idea is being included in our transportation plan may signal a shift to proper leadership, thinking and planning beginning to slowly take hold at city hall.

Obviously, any proposal like this would need to be examined and presented to the public for feedback. But there is no reason why it can't happen alongside a restaurant/café/patio/gift shop/lookout development.

Quebec City and Pittsburg are both more enjoyable and unique for keeping their inclines in operation. Hamilton would be wise to join the club.

Duquesne Incline funicular railway, Pittsburgh (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
Duquesne Incline funicular railway, Pittsburgh (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.


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