Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
El Portal in Mariposa County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Yosemite Valley Railroad

 
 
Yosemite Valley Railroad Marker - Panel #1 image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 19, 2011
1. Yosemite Valley Railroad Marker - Panel #1
Photo caption: In 1940, a Yosemite Valley passenger train crosses the trestle near Sweetwater Creek about 13 miles downstream from El Portal. The railroad made its last scheduled run August of 1945, moving it out of service and onto the pages of Yosemite transportation history.
Inscription. [This marker is composed of two panels.]
Panel #1
Gateway to Yosemite
The arrival of the Yosemite Valley Railroad in El Portal, Spanish for the Gateway, represented a great accomplishment in transportation and the birth of this community. In 1907, the first El Portal building was the railroad freight and ticket office.

Once rail passengers arrived here, they completed the final 12 miles of their journey into the park via stage and later, motorcoach. In 1916, railroad travel reached its height with over 14,000 fares recorded; however, this very same year, more visitors traveled to Yosemite by automobile than by train. After the All-Year Highway opened in 1926, passenger travel fell almost 80 percent, a trend that eventually ended rail travel to the park.

Panel #2:
All Aboard!
When Yosemite Valley Railroad first rolled through the Merced River Canyon on May 15, 1907, excitement and enthusiasm whistled in the air.

The railroad revolutionized travel by changing the trip from Merced to Yosemite from an uncomfortable two-day, horse drawn stage ride to a four-hour, sightseeing journey. Train passengers arriving in Yosemite for the first time 100 years ago may have felt similar emotions to what you are experiencing today. Perhaps
Yosemite Valley Railroad Marker - Panel #2 image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 19, 2011
2. Yosemite Valley Railroad Marker - Panel #2
Photo captions:
(Left): The Yosemite Valley Railroad strikes for the National Park ....Up its matchless canyon this new trail toils, unfolding moment by moment one of the most picturesque series of mountain pictures that nature has fashioned in her whole wide world. Lanier Barlett, Pacific Monthly, 1907
(Center): In 2008 the National Park Service, The Yosemite Fund, and local volunteer railfans worked together to reconstruct this turntable on its original foundation.
(Right): Caboose 15 from the Yosemite Valley Railroad has been on display in El Portal since 1961. Alongside it sits Engine 6 from the Hetch Hetchy Railroad. The train station to your right, once located in Bagby, now serves as headquarters for the Yosemite Assocation.
they felt anticipation, excitement, or even impatience as they were nearing the end of their journey.
 
Erected by The Yosemite Fund.
 
Location. 37° 40.481′ N, 119° 47.173′ W. Marker is in El Portal, California, in Mariposa County. Marker is on Foresta Road near El Portal Road. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: El Portal CA 95318, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A Storied Landscape (approx. 4.6 miles away); The Journey to Yosemite (approx. 5.3 miles away); Waterfalls of Yosemite Valley (approx. 5.3 miles away); Site of Savage’s Trading Post (approx. 5.7 miles away); Yosemite Valley's First Visit by White Men (approx. 6.6 miles away but has been reported missing); President Theodore Roosevelt & John Muir Meeting Site (approx. 7.5 miles away); Disappearing Waterfalls (approx. 7.9 miles away); Glaciers at the Gate (approx. 8.1 miles away).
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. The Bagby marker - original location of the depot building, turn-table and twin water towers.
 
Also see . . .  Yosemite Valley Railroad. The YosemiteValley Railroad .com website is primarily
Yosemite Valley RR Turntable image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 19, 2011
3. Yosemite Valley RR Turntable
devoted to the history of the Yosemite Valley Railroad/Railway. There is also historic information on Merced and Mariposa, Yosemite National Park, El Portal, and the Merced Canyon as well as other historic railroads. (Submitted on September 2, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
 
Categories. Railroads & Streetcars
 
Yosemite Valley RR Turntable image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 19, 2011
4. Yosemite Valley RR Turntable
Yosemite Valley RR train station in the background.
Yosemite Valley Railroad Train Station. image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 19, 2011
5. Yosemite Valley Railroad Train Station.
This station was formerly located at Bagby.
Yosemite Valley Railroad Train Station. image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 19, 2011
6. Yosemite Valley Railroad Train Station.
Hetch Hetchy Railroad Locomotive #6 image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 19, 2011
7. Hetch Hetchy Railroad Locomotive #6
Yosemite Valley Railroad Caboose #15 image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 19, 2011
8. Yosemite Valley Railroad Caboose #15
Yosemite Valley Railroad Twin-Tank Water Tower image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 19, 2011
9. Yosemite Valley Railroad Twin-Tank Water Tower
Yosemite Valley Railroad Twin-tank Water Tower and Hetch Hetchy RR Engine #6 image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 19, 2011
10. Yosemite Valley Railroad Twin-tank Water Tower and Hetch Hetchy RR Engine #6
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 1,072 times since then and 52 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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