Photos of the incline at El Portal and the the YLCO

Incline at El Portal bringing logs from the YLCO to the YVRR

The museum’s Shay was part of the Yosemite Lumber Company and was used to transport logs from where they were cut to this incline near El Portal where the logs were transported down the incline to a landing where they were loaded on trains belonging to the Yosemite Valley Railroad. From there they were transported to a mill at Merced Falls where there was electricity generated that was used to power the mill.

For good information about the incline and how it was used go to this commercial message about some lodging in the area.

The Incline

Bottom of the incline where the logs were transferred

YLCO locomotive at crashed trestle

Wrecked trestle on the YLCO line


  1. Jim Hall Says: June 15, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Shays have always been one of my favorite locos. When I retired in 1993, I drove back to Cass, West Virginia to ride on their shays. They have the largest collection of Shays anywhere, The State purchased the old mill there and turned it into a State Park. Beautiful country and a 13% grade really makes a great railroad. I drove fire engines in Los Angeles for a living but I always loved trains. Now I work at the Nevad State RR Museum(volunteer) in Carson City.

    I rode bedhind the West Side Shays at Fish Camp(Yosemite), when they obtained the second one and had a railfan weekend. #10 and #15. It was awesome coming up the hill in the dark with the fireboxes lighting up the woods and six cylinders chuging and then the whistles blowing. Almost brought tears to my eyes.

    In 1994 I was back in Mt Pleasant, Iowa at their annual tracktor show. They have a narrow-gauge railroad there but I’m not shure how long it is. I was really surprised to see West Side #9 running there.


  2. Addendum to opening paragraph documenting the rare footage of actual incline operation – at the new display, a four minute video is played over and over, custom made by filmaker Warren Haack, using footage owned by Don Olsen (we have his written permission for use) and we thank them both for allowing us to use it and really make this display special. The footage came from a longer DVD entitled Sierra Shortlines Vol 2, made by these same two men, and available for purchase online – see the website =

    come see it!
    stu (model builder)

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