FROM THE TURN OF THE CENTURY UNTIL 1945, it was possible to take a wonderful train ride from Merced, California in the San Joaquin Valley to El Portal 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.
Welcome to my website. My name is Jack Burgess. I have been researching the Yosemite Valley Railroad for over 50 years. Not only do I collect information, photos, and paper "artifacts" related to this wonderful railroad, but I have also built a large HO scale layout based on the YV in my home in Newark, California in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In June 2017, TSG Multimedia released a YouTube video on my layout and did an excellent job with the videotaping and putting together the resulting footage. The video is at:
Since then, I have been working with TSG Multimedia on what I hope be a series of videos aimed at more experienced prototype model railroaders. This link takes you to the current list
TSG and I also worked on a video about the two Yosemite Lumber Company logging inclines opposite El Portal and at Incline. It was released in late November 2020 and has had over 200,000 views in the first 6 months:
Another TSG project was a video which includes an interview I did with Bob Lunoe in 1989:
I HAVE DIVIDED my website into several sections:
About - Here is some general information about myself and my family. I also enjoy writing magazine articles about model railroading and few of them are available here as downloads.
Clinics - I present a number of clinics at conventions throughout the year and having the clinic handouts available on my website makes it easy to share them with attendees and others.
Modeling - Building a model railroad layout depicting the actual YV took 31 very enjoyable years. This section provides an overview of my modeling approach, layout plans for the different levels of my multi-level layout, construction photos of some of my most recent projects, information on what is available to model the YVRR, a virtual tour of my finished layout, and how operations on the layout are structured.
History - This section is devoted to providing a historical overview of the real Yosemite Valley Railroad. It includes a short history of the railroad, a listing of structures and equipment which still remain 60 years after its abandonment, an interesting comparison of locations on the railroad back “then” and today, a tour following the YV by automobile, and a virtual tour of the YV using Bing and Google maps.
Store - Many years ago, I decided to have decals made for all of the equipment which operated on the YV and make sets available to other modelers. In addition, as my collection of historical photos of the YV grew, I wanted to also make them available on CDs. These items can be purchased in the Store.