Please note that while Yosemite remains open during the federal government shutdown, services and facilities are very limited, and certain areas of the park are closed. For more information, please refer to the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior: visit www.nps.gov/yose and www.doi.gov/shutdown.

As the impact of the government shutdown continues to be felt, Yosemite Conservancy remains committed to supporting Yosemite National Park.

Click here for more information on the availability of Yosemite Conservancy programs and services during the shutdown.

Yosemite Railroad Turntable and Caboose Restoration

Yosemite Railroad Turntable and Caboose Restoration

Between 1907 and 1945, the Yosemite Valley Railroad brought flocks of tourists to the park gates at El Portal, where passengers took a stage coach the remainder of the way into Yosemite Valley. The railroad’s turntable, also located in El Portal, served the important function of reversing the main engine and car for the return trip down the Merced River Canyon.

Fallen into Disrepair

The original turntable fell into complete disrepair in the decades after the railroad closed. It deteriorated to a handful of rusty parts, including steel cross-ties, the central hub structure, the concrete perimeter footing, and a collection of random nuts and bolts. Wood structures rotted away, and vegetation eventually overtook the area.

Reviving a Piece of History

Thanks to this Conservancy-funded project, a team of restoration experts brought the turntable and caboose back to life. Using original engineering drawings and historic photographs, the crew reconstructed the original structures down to the smallest detail. The turntable is fully functional: A small group of people can move it by hand, providing an accurate portrayal of its original purpose. Crews also installed interpretive signs that tell the story of the Yosemite Valley Railroad and the early tourists who were among the first wave of national-park enthusiasts.

With your support, we are restoring important treasures that tell the story of Yosemite.

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