The Springtown Bridge formerly carried the Wallkill Valley Railway over the Wallkill River in Springtown, New York. Currently, it serves the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.
The inception of the Wallkill Valley Railway (WKVY) can be traced back to 1866 when local interests in the Wallkill Valley region of New York sought to establish a means of transporting agricultural goods. 1 The construction of the railway was funded by local capital, including substantial bond issues from towns along the proposed route. The WKVY leased its line to the Erie Railroad for the first ten years of its operation, which had constructed a local branch line from Montgomery to Campbell Hall that was subsequently leased to the WKVY.
By 1870, the WKVY had expanded its reach to the town of New Paltz. 1 2a The next phase of its expansion involved the construction of an extension to Kingston, which included the construction of a bridge over the Wallkill River in Springtown and a trestle over Rondout Creek and the Delaware & Hudson Canal in Rosendale. The Springtown Bridge opened to traffic in January 1872.
The completion of the railway line from Rosendale to Kingston took place in November 1872; however, the Wallkill Valley Railroad (WKVY) soon faced financial difficulties, resulting in bankruptcy. 3 Subsequently, the WKVY was reorganized and renamed the Wallkill Valley Railroad (WKVY). 1 Plans were devised to extend the railway northwards towards Albany along the proposed route of the West Shore Railroad. In 1881, the West Shore Railroad acquired the Wallkill Valley Railroad, incorporating it as the Wallkill Valley Branch within its own railway network.
In 1960, the Erie Railroad merged with the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad to form the Erie Lackawanna Railroad (EL). By 1975, the structure of the Rosendale Trestle had deteriorated to the point where track speeds over the bridge were limited to only 8 MPH, 2c although engineers were instructed not to exceed 5 MPH. 2d
In 1976, the EL became part of Conrail. Conrail had considered using the Wallkill Valley Branch as part of a new route between the Northeast and Allentown, Pennsylvania, but this plan was derailed due to the discovery of substructure concerns with the Rosendale Trestle in 1977. Specifically, it was discovered that the piers supporting the bridge had shifted, and repairs would have exceeded the line’s value. As a result, the line from Walden north to Kingston was closed to traffic on December 31, 1977, 2c and was formally abandoned in 1982, with much of the infrastructure being dismantled in 1983-84.
A multi-year, $1.5 million 6 project to rehabilitate the former WKVY into a trail cumulated with the opening of a 24-mile segment of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail from Gardiner to Kingston on June 29, 2013. 4 5
- State: New York
- Route: Wallkill Valley Rail Trail
- Type: Warren Through Truss
- Status: Active - Pedestrian
- Navigational Clearance:
- “Wallkill Valley.” Ulster and Delaware Railroad Historical Society.
- Mabee, Carleton. Listen to the Whistle: An Anecdotal History of the Wallkill Valley Railroad. Purple Mountain Press, 1995.
- p. 38.
- pp. 134–135.
- p. 124.
- Gilchrist, Ann. Footsteps Across Cement: A History of the Township of Rosendale, New York. Lith Art, 1976.
- “Groups plan rehab of Rosendale rail trestle for hikers.” Daily Freeman, 12 Jun. 2010.
- “Rosendale trestle closed for improvements.” Daily Freeman, 13 Jun. 2010.
- Pratt, Frances Marion. “Historic railroad trestle over Rondout Creek scheduled to reopen in June.” HV1 Magazine, 14 Apr. 2016.