FROM THE TURN OF THE CENTURY UNTIL 1945, it was possible to take a wonderful train ride from Merced in the San Joaquin Valley to El Portal, California to visit Yosemite National Park. Rather than endure dusty roads and undependable automobiles, vacationers could relax in Pullman accommodations or on the deck of a beautiful observation car and enjoy the scenery along the way.

Hello, my name is Jack Burgess. I have been researching this railroad for over 40 years. Not only do I collect information, photos, and paper "artifacts" from this wonderful railroad, but I am also building a large HO scale layout based on the YVRR in my home in Newark, California in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 New Items - I now have the last of the series of CDs available on modeling the prototype Yosemite Valley Railroad. This four-CD set covers covers the locomotives and equipment owned by the railroad. I also have three new decal sets available. One includes decals for all of the flat cars and ballast cars and another covering all of the M of W equipment. With these two additions, I now have HO scale decals to cover all of the locomotives and equipment owned by the railroad. I also have a new O scale decal set to letter RPO 107. Finally, I now have resin castings for the roof-mounted Baker heater water tank.

Historical Overview of the Yosemite Valley Railroad - Learn more about this 77-mile long shortline railroad, which always operated in a first-class manner, in this short historical overview.

Remaining Prototypes - There are only a few structures and pieces of equipment left from the days when the Yosemite Valley Railroad ran between Merced and Yosemite National Park. Here is a summary of those structures and railroad equipment still around.

Then and Now - Many years ago, I presented a clinic comparing period photos with current day photos taken from the same vantage point. Here are some of those comparisons.

Restoring Observation No. 330 - The Yosemite Valley Railroad purchased a trio of beautiful wood passenger cars in 1907 including a 69-foot-long observation car with an open deck on the back. This car is being restored for future operation. Here is the latest information on that project from its current owner, Wes Swift.

Tracing the YVRR - While not much is left of the Yosemite Valley Railroad, here is how to follow the old roadbed from Merced to El Portal and view what does remain, including bridges and station sites.

Modeling the YV - The availability of various YV engines, passenger cars, freight cars, and decals over the past decade has made modeling the Yosemite Valley Railroad much easier for model railroaders. Here is detailed information on what is currently available.

Prototype Modeling of the YV - Modeling the Yosemite Valley Railroad on a grand and detailed scale has been a very satisfying hobby for me. Here is more information on my own modeling philosophy and approach.

Layout Plans - Multi-deck layouts are inherently more difficult to visualize. Here are plans and an explanation for my own layout.

Model Railroad Tour - I have had hundreds of visitors to my layout. Here is a chance to take a short virtual tour.

Multi-deck Layouts - My layout features 1-4 decks or levels to take better advantage of my limited (20'x20') available space. While multi-deck layouts were fairly rare when I started construction of my layout in 1981, they are now more widely used. Here is more information on the multi-deck aspects of my layout.

Operations and Forms - After working on the layout since 1981, I started prototypical-based operating sessions in late 1998.  Here is a description of a typical operating session and the forms that are used during the operating sessions.  This page also includes additional photos of the layout.

Layout Operations - On December 18, 1998, I held the first formal operating session on the layout.   Here are some photos of that first operating session which is fairly typical of the sessions I now occasionally organize.

Yosemite Models - I now have a large number of CDs available with addition research information on the Yosemite Valley Railroad. I also have decal sets available including locomotives and cabooses.  Here is how to order any of these items and information on future items.

Web page development, design, and content copyrighted by Jack Burgess 2008. E-mail: Jack Burgess