Renslow Revisited

The big black trestle, the one that spans I90 just east of Kititas and Ellensburg. Or the one that sits close to the top of Ryegrass summit on the way up from the I90 crossing of the Columbia River at Vantage. It has a name you know. Its name is Renslow.

If you take a few minutes and get off the interstate you can drive up the old two-lane highway that parallels the interstate through this part of Washington and go visit the old girl. I think the old two-lane might be a remnant of US 10, but I'm not sure.

Renslow trestle still sits just where she has for a long long time, back all the way to when The Milwaukee draped electrical wire along its Rocky Mountain and Cascade crossings and proclaimed itself as being "Electrified to the Coast." A ticket purchased in Seattle would loft eastbound travelers up and over the Cascades, out into the Kititas valley, and over Renslow Trestle on their way to the Rockies and the plains that lay beyond them.

Today she remains as more of a question than anything else. Many travel beneath the huge black structure and wonder about it. Those who identify it as a railroad bridge even wonder why they never see a train on it. I always marveled at it as a young kid traveling beneath it's great height, and guessed that it was abandoned. I'm not sure why I came to that conclusion, but it was true, even back in the early 80's. She's been abandoned since The Milwauke Road pulled out in 1980 and left landmarks like Renslow behind to stand and exist as a lasting question, 'why?'.

Renslow, WA. More questions than answers here.


Anonymous said…
Love the blog. I have followed the Milwaukee stem-to-stern several times, all after lines west operation, unfortunately.

Who knows...I see the State of Washington has extended the time for a "franchise exemption" to BNSF until 2009 as the BNSF continues to study relaying track between Ellensburg and Lind. While many trail advocates would cringe at this I rejoice in the fact that a highly scenic portion of the Milwaukee may yet once again feel the thump of passing trains, albeit only one of the locomotive colors being correct.
LinesWest said…
I heard about that bill being passed too, I always enjoy biking old rail lines, but I'd always rather watch trains on them instead...

Thanks for dropping me a line.

Greg L. said…
Great blog! However, the road you took your picture from is Boylston Rd. named after the old depot that once stood at Boylston near the Johnson Creek Tunnel (tunnel 45). At one time, before the army took control of the land east of the trestle you could continue driving this road till you came to the old depot location. Old HWY 10 is up north of this location.

I have done some extensive studying on this area as I am building a prototypical model RR layout of the Milw. Images can be seen here including those of my scale length Renslow Trestle:


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