Every time we go over the Rosendale Trestle I think about the people and trains that went over it. The views they saw, the ride they had and the struggles they went through. It’s incredible to see this amazing structure standing over the Roundout Creek. I’m sure the people were just as awestruck as I was, see it standing for the first time, in 1872. The trestle supported five boxcars and two passanger cars, but it had its challenges.
Since the trestle was on a curve and had to go on a steep uphill, it was a challenge to get trains over. Even at full speed, there were still issues. Most of the times the trains would have to be split into two in order to cross over. Even so, the train continued to run on the line until 1977. This is when Conrail, the owner of the Wallkill Valley Rail line, closed the railroad.
In 1986, Conrail sold the trestle and 12 miles of railroad line to John Rahl. Rahl had plans to restore the line and create a new tourist rail line and restaurant. His plans did not pan out so instead he added guard rails to the southern half of the trestle. He then opened it to the public and even allowed bungee jumping off the trestle. This was stopped after a year.
After failing to pay the property taxes on the 63 acres he accumulated for just one dollar, the land was sold. In July 2009, The Wallkill Valley Land Trust took over the trestle and his section of the railroad.
In 2012 the work on the trestle began and in June of 2013 it was open to the public again. Today, everyone can enjoy the Rosendale trestle and can easily walk, bike or even horseback over it.