Long time residents of Black Diamond, Judy and I love our community and the unique natural beauty and colorful history we have here. Join us in learning more about our history, local wildlife, must do hikes, conservation areas to explore and the opportunities and challenges faced by our community. Craig Goodwin

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The line to the left in the last photo, is the line that went to Enumclaw, which now dead ends north of Enumclaw, and is only really used as a storage track.


Thanks David!

Adam DeBruler

I've been doing some research on this myself. Palmer was not initially a junction, but was where the Northern Pacific line coming up from Enumclaw turned east up the Green River valley and headed toward Stampede Pass. The Stampede Pass tunnel wasn't constructed until 1888, though a switchback route over the pass had been in operation for most of the decade already. The eastward curve at Palmer is just south of the intersection of Cumberland Kanaskat Road SE and Green River Headworks Rd today - you can see the old rail bed in satellite photos - City of Tacoma's water pipeline runs right along side it.

1890-1892 another railway (Green River and Northern Railroad) built a spur headed north off this eastward bend. This alignment is Cumberland Kanaskat Road SE, and the railroad turned north-northeast near what is today SE 308th Street, and ran roughly parallel to what is now Kanaskat Kangley Road SE. This line crossed the Cedar River and ran northerly through the saddle between Taylor and Lookout Mountains running all the way up to Echo Lake (now the intersection of SR-18 and I-90). Northern Pacific bought this line in 1898.

In 1899-1900, the NP built the Palmer cut-off from Auburn up to join the former main line just east of Palmer. The original Pre-Howard Hanson Dam Palmer Cut-off alignment is now occupied by 340th Pl SE and joined the main line just east of Palmer, where Pipeline Road does
a 90 degree turn and tees into Green River Headworks Road (this 90 degree turn was necessary to cross the tracks). The Palmer Cut-Off created the north side of a wye centered on Palmer, with the NP Stampede Pass route forming the east side and the former Green River & Northern forming the west. Palmer was now a junction, though the main station as noted in your post was Kanaskat. The third depot constructed there still stands today, at the corner of SE 308th Street and Cumberland Kansakat Road SE. See the Wikipedia page on Kanaskat, WA.

Adding congestion to the railroads in the area, the Chicago Milwaukee and Puget Sound RR (later Chicago Milwaukee and St Paul RR) completed their transcontinental route over Snoqualmie Pass in 1909 (now the Iron Horse Trail and John Wayne Pioneer Trails). Their route ran past Rattlesnake Lake, down the Cedar River, and plugged into the Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad in Maple Valley (now the Cedar River trail). However, just upriver of where the Green River & Northern crossed the Cedar River (Barneston), CM&PS RR ran a spur south toward Enumclaw (this spur/junction became known as Bagley Junction). The CM&PS line paralleled the Green River & Northern RR back south to Kanaskat and Palmer and crossed through the area on its way to Enumclaw, running on overpasses over top of the NP lines.

Finally, when the Howard Hanson Dam was constructed (completed 1962), all of the Northern Pacific trackage had to be ripped out and re-routed to allow the railroad to climb up and over the dam and the reservoir. This forced the tracks higher through Kanaskat, and the Palmer wye moved south and east to higher ground. These alignments are still in existence today and crossed onoverpasses over top of the CM & PS line.

The 1962 photo of two bridges is looking southeast up Green River toward the dam. The lower bridge is the CM & PS RR (now abandoned and the bridge is gone) which crossed over top of the pre-dam Palmer Cut-off tracks (the wye to the south is up hill to the right, the main line was uphill to the left heading up the valley). The upper bridge is the brand new post-Howard Hansen Dam Northern Pacific alignment. Left side of the bridge is down toward Kansakat/Covington/Auburn. Right side of the bridge goes up to the wye in your last photo. David W is right: the west side of the wye (left of your last photo) used to go down to Tacoma via Cumberland, Enumclaw, Buckley, South Prairie, Orting, McMillin, Alderton, Meeker, and Puyallup. The east side of the wye goes up to Stampede Pass via Eagle Gorge, Nagrom, and Lester.


Craig Goodwin

Wow, thanks Adam. Very interesting and most helpful in putting together the puzzle.

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