Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad: Wikis


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Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad
System map
Katy system as of 1918; many of the outlying lines left the system in the 1923 reorganization
Reporting mark MKT
Locale Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas
Dates of operation 1870–1988
Successor Union Pacific
Track gauge 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)
Headquarters Dallas, Texas

The Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad (reporting mark MKT) was incorporated May 23, 1870. In its earliest days the MKT was commonly referred to as "the K-T", which was its stock exchange symbol; this common designation soon evolved into "the Katy".

The Katy was the first railroad to enter Texas from the north. Eventually the Katy's core system would grow to link Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri; Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Dallas, Fort Worth, Waco, Temple, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and Galveston, Texas. An additional mainline between Fort Worth and Salina, Kansas, was added in the 1980s after the collapse of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad; this line was operated as the Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas Railroad (OKKT).



An 1881 advertisement for the line

When it incorporated in May 1870 the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad immediately acquired the Union Pacific Railway, Southern Branch and its 182 miles (293 km) of track. The Union Pacific Railway was, for a period of several years in the late 1800s the official name of the Union Pacific Railroad who later acquired MKT as part of the Missouri Pacific Railroad. The Union Pacific Railway, Southern Branch had begun operations in 1865.

At the time of 1870 incorporation, consolidations were also made with the Labette & Sedalia Railway Co. and the Neosho Valley & Holden Railway Co. At this time MKT also acquired the Tebo & Nosho Railroad Co., the St. Louis & Santa Fe Railroad Co., and the Hannibal & Central Missouri Railroad Co. Combined with the Union Pacific Railway, Southern Branch these small, newly built railroads formed the foundation on which the Katy would build.

Congress had passed acts promising land grants to the first railroad to reach the Kansas border via the Neosho Valley and the part of the Katy had been the Union Pacific Railway, Southern Branch was in a heated competition for the prize. On June 6, 1870, Katy workers laid the first rails across the Kansas border winning the race. Ironically the promised land grants never materialized; the courts overturned the grants promised by Congress because the land was in Indian Territory and was the property of the Indian tribes.

Still, the Katy continued its push southward, laying track and acquiring other small railroads, extending its reach to Dallas in 1886, Waco in 1888, Houston in April 1893 and to San Antonio 1901.

When the railroad reached Houston, joint ownership of the Galveston, Houston and Henderson Railroad gave the Katy immediate access to the Port of Galveston, and access to ocean-going traffic on the Gulf of Mexico.

In 1896, as a publicity stunt set up by William George Crush, the Katy crashed two locomotives, pulling heavily loaded trains, at a site that came to be known thereafter as Crush, Texas. The collision occurred before over 40 thousand spectators, three of whom died (and there were several injuries) when the exploding boilers sent debris flying. Ragtime composer Scott Joplin, who was performing in the area at the time, commemorated the event in "The Great Crush Collision March" (which he dedicated to the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railway).[1]

From 1915 until January 4, 1959, the Katy, in a joint venture with the St. Louis – San Francisco Railway (popularly known as the Frisco), operated the Texas Special. This luxury passenger liner ran from St. Louis to Dallas, Ft. Worth, and San Antonio. It sported rail cars with names like Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin, David Crockett, and James Bowie.

MKT #153, an RS3m, on July 24, 1986.

The Katy's purchase by the Missouri Pacific Railroad (MoPac) and the MoPac's owner, the Union Pacific, was approved by the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1988. With the merger movement in full swing across the industry by the 1980s, for the Katy this proved to be a major setback as it cost the railroad much overhead traffic, which it depended on. Surrounded by much larger systems the railroad saw no other alternative than to find a merger partner. On December 1, 1989, the Katy was formally merged into the MoPac, and the MKT is now part of the Union Pacific Railroad system.

A large portion of the Missouri track has been converted into a Missouri State Park: the Katy Trail State Park. A 3.5-mile (6 km) long section, also called the Katy Trail, is being converted into a multi-use trail through downtown Dallas, linking White Rock Lake to the American Airlines Center.

The former MKT rail line (20 miles/32 kilometres) which linked Katy to Downtown Houston has been converted; a section between Interstate 610 and Katy, Texas, is part of the Interstate 10 expansion of the Katy Freeway since TxDOT purchased the MKT right-of-way in 1998, and the MKT line east of Loop 610 into Downtown Houston is currently owned by the City of Houston's Parks and Recreation Department (plans are underway to convert the right-of-way into a bicycle trail).

In July 2005, Union Pacific unveiled a brand new EMD SD70ACe locomotive, Union Pacific 1988, in MKT colors as part of a new heritage program.


Passenger trains

The Katy operated the following named passenger trains on regular schedules:

  • Train numbers 1 and 2: The Texas Special:
    • St. Louis, Missouri - San Antonio, Texas (1915-1959), then
    • Kansas City-San Antonio (1959-July 26, 1964), then
    • Kansas City-Dallas (July 27, 1964 to June 30, 1965)
  • Train numbers 3 and 4: Katy Limited
  • Train numbers 5 and 6: Katy Flyer
  • Train numbers 7 and 8: Bluebonnet

Livery paint schemes

  • 1870-1947 Steam locomotives were shiny black with the MKT herald on their tenders. Rolling stock used colors common in those days, i.e. boxcar brown, caboose red, etc.
  • 1947-1957 Diesels were bright red with silver side panels and cream yellow on top of the nose hoods. Passenger cars were painted to match. Boxcars, cabooses, and other rolling stock were frequently painted Sloan Yellow (named for MKT President Matthew S. Sloan)
  • 1957-1965 Diesels were painted an orange-red with yellow MKT and road numbers. The herald was changed to read simply "Katy" in red letters on a gold background. The text and herald were outlined in black.
  • 1965-1971 The Katy returned to a bright red paint, perhaps deeper than the original 1947 through 1957. They also returned to the original herald.
  • 1971-1988 Diesel Locomotives, cabooses, and other rolling stock were painted green with yellow stripes, lettering and numbering. The first Katy locomotive painted into this scheme was GP7 #123.

In its final years, the Katy acquired several locomotives second-hand which, due to its impending acquisition by Union Pacific were not painted into the standard green and yellow scheme. MKT acquired 18 GP40s from Conrail in late 1983 that were numbered 231-248 (example).

A set of nine GP39-2s were acquired from Kennecott Copper Corporation in late 1984. Ex KCC #779-783, 785, and 787-789 were renumbered MKT #380-388 (example).

In 1985, 3 additional GP38s were purchased from Conrail that were numbered 322-324 and finally 19 GP38ACs were purchased from Illinois Central Gulf and numbered 325-343 (example).

The changes in MKT's red paint were most likely due to its resistance to fading in the Texas sun. It was common to see turning locomotives and rolling stock various shades of faded red. The change to green in 1970 may well be a concession to the fading red paint also.

Company officers

MKT #142, operated by Midland Railway, near Ottawa, KS, on December 4, 2004

Presidents of the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad:

  • Charles E. Schaff, 1923–1926.
  • Charles N. Whitehead, 1926.
  • Columbus Haile, 1927–1930.[2]
  • Michael H. Cahill, 1930–1934.
  • Matthew S. Sloan, 1934–1945.
  • Donald V. Fraser, 1945–1956.
  • William N. Deramus III, 1957–1961.
  • Charles T. Williams, 1961–1965.
  • John W. Barriger III, 1965–1970.
  • Reginald N. Whitman, 1970–1975.[3]
  • Harold L. Gastler, 1975–1988.

In popular culture

  • The Houston suburb of Katy, Texas, takes its name from the railroad's nickname.
  • Interstate 10 between Downtown Houston and the suburb of Katy, is called the "Katy Freeway". The highway was originally built paralleling the MKT tracks west of Interstate 610, but with the abandonment of that portion of the rail line, the highway has been widened onto the former MKT right-of-way. This makes the name of the highway even more fitting.
  • An early blues song, "Bad luck blues", written by Blind Lemon Jefferson refers to the railroad:
Sugar, you catch the Katy, I'll catch that Santa Fe,
doggone my bad luck soul,
Sugar, you catch that Katy and I'll catch that Santa Fe;
I mean the Santy, speakin' about Fe,
When you get in Denver, pretty mama, look around for me.



  1. ^ Scott Joplin, "The Great Crush Collision March" sheet music (Temple, TX: John R. Fuller, 1896). See Bill Edwards, Rags and Pieces by Scott Joplin.
  2. ^ "Personnel". Time. 1930-10-20. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,740607,00.html. Retrieved 2007-04-02.  
  3. ^ "Whitman takes over as Katy president". Railway Age 169 (1): p 12. July 13 1970.  


External links


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