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PRT releases cause of unexpected Mon Incline stop with passengers on board

PITTSBURGH — A preliminary investigation has concluded that condensation buildup caused by an air conditioning unit attached to an electrical cabinet triggered the emergency brake on the Monongahela Incline on Friday evening, unexpectedly stopping the cars partially through the ride, Pittsburgh Regional Transit announced Monday.

The incline will remain closed until engineers determine a way to allow the condensation to dissipate more efficiently. The electrical cabinet contains electronic circuitry that connects the incline’s motor to the control system. The air conditioning unit ensures the circuitry inside the cabinet does not overheat.

Port Authority police, along with firefighters and paramedics from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Public Safety, were called to the incline around 5 p.m. Friday when 12 people were stranded about 50 feet from the stations.

Emergency responders were preparing to rescue the passengers, but crews were able to get the cars moving at around 6 p.m. and no rescue was required.

Pittsburgh Public Safety said medics transported one passenger to the hospital for heavy intoxication.

PRT closed the incline immediately following the incident.

Once a remedy is in place, PRT plans to conduct several test trips before reopening. There is currently no timeline as to when the incline will reopen.

The 153-year-old incline, the oldest continuously operating funicular in the country, sees 1,000 riders every weekday and 4,500 riders on weekends.

The incline was last inspected in March following an $8.2 million rehabilitation project.

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