Hornblower Brings Back Funicular to the Bottom of Clifton Hill
Incline railway ready to transport guests starting in May
NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. — For the first time in a generation, a funicular is transporting people from the bottom of Clifton Hill into the Niagara Gorge.
Utilizing the same pathway as past inclines, but with all the bells and whistles of modern times, the Hornblower Niagara Funicular will begin operation to coincide with the opening of the season in early May. The 50-passenger, climate-controlled passenger cars will transport passengers up and down the 18,000-year-old rock on the gorge wall’s 56 metres (or 185 feet) — equal to the distance of nearly 19 stories on an angle.
It has been 29 years since a funicular has operated in this location.
“People have been born, grown up and started their own families in the time since a funicular last operated here,” says Mory DiMaurizio, General Manager and Vice President of Hornblower Niagara Cruises. “An incline from Clifton Hill to the bottom of the Gorge and the boarding area is a significant part of Niagara Falls’ history, and we are excited to bring it back to life.”
A funicular railway at the base of Clifton Hill was a staple of the tourism experience in Niagara Falls for nearly a century. Originally opened in 1894 as the Clifton Incline, it was built then as it was today — to bring passengers down to the boat tour to the Falls. The line was closed in 1990 after four elevators were installed to replace it.
However, even though it was decommissioned, the tracks — and even the cars — remained in place. When Hornblower was awarded the operation as the official and only boat tour operator in Niagara Falls, Canada, in 2012, it committed to restoring the incline railway to enhance the guests’ experience and sustain passenger growth. The Hornblower Niagara Funicular will operate alongside the elevators.
“The funicular has the same capacity as the four available elevator cars, so it represents our success going forward and the future of building the business,” says DiMaurizio. “When you can add a new attraction that not only provides guests a memorable experience but also allow us to significantly reduce wait times to ride the boats, it’s a win-win scenario.”
When the Hornblower Niagara Funicular opens, it will be only the fourth operating funicular railway in Canada, along with the Old Quebec Funicular in Quebec City, the River Valley Funicular in Edmonton and the Falls Incline Railway — just up the street from the Hornblower Niagara Funicular. (There is also a diagonal elevator in the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, but it is an internal function of the convention space, and not so much a railway, let alone a public-use funicular railway.) Across North America, there are fewer than 20 operational funicular railways.
For more information, please visit niagaracruises.com. Follow Hornblower Niagara Cruises on Instagram @NiagaraCruises and Like it on Facebook.
About Hornblower Niagara Cruises: Hornblower Niagara Cruises, the official Boat Tour operator for the Niagara Parks in Niagara Falls, Canada, is a sister company of Hornblower Cruises and Events; a North American company based in San Francisco, California, with more than 100 vessels and 30 years of experience operating various types of marine services across the east and west coasts. As Canada’s most memorable visitor experience, the Niagara Falls boat tour operation hosts millions of visitors a year. In September 2018, Hornblower welcomed its 10 millionth visitor.
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