The Incline Railway

The Incline Railway might be one of the most fascinating historical attractions around. People from all walks of the world, young and old, enjoy the fun and natural beauty found at this popular Chattanooga attraction. At the steepest passenger railway in the world, you will make unforgettable memories.

What You Need to Know About the Incline Railway

The Incline Railway is a 4ft standard gauge railway that leads to the top of Lookout Mountain, from the historical St. Elmo in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Incline Railway transports passengers from St. Elmo’s station at the base to the Mountain Summit at Point Park. The park overlooks the city and the Tennessee River. It is a brief drive to Chattanooga’s three main tourist attractions:


•      Cavern Castle

•      Ruby Falls

•      Rock City


The railway is a single track, except for a short two-track passing loop at the midway point that allows the operation of two cars at a time. The railway runs approximately 1.6km in length. It is designed with a maximum grade of 72.7%, which makes it the world’s steepest passenger railways. In 1991, it gained the historic mechanical engineering landmark status. The contractor of the system was the Otis Elevator Company.

History of the Incline Railway

The railway was officially opened on November 16, 1895, by the Lula Lake Railway and the Chattanooga Incline. It is the primary mode of transport to the peak of the mountain. Out of the inclines built on Lookout Mountain, it was the second. The first incline was the Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain Railway in operation from 1886 to 1895 and was terminated in 1900.


Due to fires that disrupted the repairs and damaged the powerhouse, upper station, and the cars stored there, the railway was temporarily put out of service. The substitute service was later provided by the Chattanooga Railway and Light Company’s Lookout Mountain Route. Eventually, the railway was sold to Southern Coach Lines in the 1940s. However, it is currently operated by the area’s public transit agency, Chattanooga Area Regional Transport Authority.


Today, the Incline Railway is a well-known and cherished Chattanooga landmark. It is a National Historic Site and a Mechanical Engineering Landmark. It has been represented in various regional and national publications and on TV. It is a huge tourist attraction in areas around Chattanooga, attracting over 100000 visits annually.

Things to do

The attraction has two stops that allow tourists to alight, where they will find stations at the top of Lookout and another at the bottom near downtown Chattanooga. There are various activities at each stop with attractions such as civil war exhibits, Point Park, and other attractions which are part of Chattanooga National Military Park and Chickamauga. At the observation towers, you can see the fascinating panoramic views of Chattanooga.


At the lower station, there are more exciting activities and sites awaiting. In the gift shop, you will find a variety of Lookout Mountain Railway souvenirs. When you are hungry, you can find your way to Chattanooga’s best restaurants, coffee houses, brewpubs, and shops. To make your trip more enjoyable, a few minutes from the station, you will find an indoor climbing wall.

Operation Hours and Details

The incline is open from Monday to Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm. The lower station’s address is 3917 St. Elmo Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37409. The top station address is 827 East Brow Road, Lookout Mountain, TN 37350. Tickets are also available and go for 15$ for adults and 7$ for children younger than 12. Children under two years old are exempted from paying.


Address: 3917 St Elmo Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37409

Phone: (423) 821-4224

While exploring Chattanooga, Next, you should see the nation’s tallest waterfall, Ruby Falls! Additionally, if you’ve recently relocated and require a shed, be sure to explore the excellent options provided by Scenic City Sheds.

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