R. Byrnes' Katy Railroad Railfan Page

I am a member of The Katy Railroad Historical Society and this is going to be a place for Katy Info both Historical and up to date.

The Missouri Kansas & Texas Railway, ie. Katy started as the Union Pacific Railway, Southern Branch, (no corporate connection with the Union Pacific) in 1865. It was incorporated to build a line from Junction City, Kansas to New Orleans through Emporia, Kansas. After receiving a land grant it began construction in 1869. In 1870 it changed it's name to the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway and reached the Kansas border at Chetopa. They also acquired the Tebo & Neosho, that went from Sedalia, Mo. to Parsons, Kan. Also in the 1870's they reached Denison, Tx. and through an extension, went from Sedalia to Hannibal, Mo. Jay Gould took control of the railroad in 1873, because he saw it as a feeder to his Missouri Pacific.

In 1881 the Katy reached Dallas and through trackage rights on the Texas & Pacific it reached Fort Worth. Also in 1881 the Katy purchased the International & Great Northern, which belonged to Jay Gould. The two railroads connected at Taylor, Texas in 1882. In 1883 the Katy bought the Galveston & Henderson, which was leased to the I&GN by Gould. In 1886 the MK&T reached Paolo north of Parsons, Kansas, and with trackage rights on the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf reached Kansas City. In 1888 Jay Gould was ousted and the Missouri Pacific's lease canceled. Control of the I&GN went to the Missouri Pacific in 1888 also.

In 1886 Texas had passed a law that required all railroads operating in the state to have general offices there. As a result of this law in 1891 the Missouri, Kansas & Texas of Texas was founded to control all of the Texas track. The rest of the 1890's saw the MK&T expand to Houston and St. Louis. In Houston the MK&T connected with the Galveston, Houston and Henderson Railroad that it had a 49% stake in.

In the early 1900's the MK&T expanded to Shreveport, Louisiana, San Antonio, Texas, and Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Then in 1910 the MK&T reached Abilene by acquiring the Texas Central. In 1911 the MK&T acquired the Wichita Falls and Southern and the Wichita Falls and Northwestern. By 1915 the MK&T had a 3865 mile system that went from St. Louis and Kansas City to Galveston and San Antonio north and south and Shreveport to the Oklahoma panhandle east and west.

On July 6, 1922 the MK&T Railway was reorganized as the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad. During the reorganization the Hannibal line and the Shreveport line were sold as well as the line to Oklahoma City. Also as part of the reorganization the MKT built a new locomotive shops in Bellmead, Texas and a classification yard in Ray, Texas. With well maintained rights-of-way and an efficient locomotive fleet the MKT became a very competitive rairoad in the 20's.

In the 30's and 40's the MKT continued to prosper and projected an image of a well maintained railroad. With the outbreak of World War II, as with most railroads, it's traffic increased especially northbound oil shipments. This new traffic however put a strain on the MKT's locomotive fleet, which hadn't been updated since 1925, and caused a lot of track deterioration. After the war the Katy went into another decline.

In the 1950's the MKT continued to decline as a result of lost revenues that had come from hauling ammunition and oil for the Korean War. Another contributing factor to the decline was an eight year drought that began in 1950 and affected the agricultural part of the MKT's business. With all the capitalization costs incured by dieselization and track improvments the Katy was in the red again.

In the 1960's the decline continued until the MKT discontinued passenger service, liquidated some bonds and secured some loans to rebuild. Scrap was cleaned up on the railroad, track rebuilt, new locomotives purchased and new freight cars leased and along with a reorganization the railroad was returned to profitability. At the close of the decade the MKT was a leaner more efficient railroad again.

In the 1970's and 1980's the MKT continued to prosper as unit trains of coal and grain, from connections with other railroads, increased. The Katy expanded when it acquired the Chicago,Rock Island and Pacific line from Abilene, Kansas to Dallas, Texas through it's subsidiary the OKT Railway. In 1985 the MKT opened itself for sale or merger and the Union Pacific Railroad made a bid. It wasn't until May 13th, 1988 that the Interstate Commerce Commission approved the sale to the UP subsidiary Missouri Pacific. On August 12th, 1988 the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad was officially absorbed by the Union Pacific Railroad and thus another chapter in American railroading came to an end.

From The Katy Flyer (News letter of the KRHS) The Katy House a B & B Inn located in Smithville, Texas in the old MKT clinic for the Katy's Division Surgeon. It is located one block from the Smithville Railroad Museum and is decorated with MKT memorabilia.
Phone: 512-237-4262.

For information about the KHRS write to  Ray George, 1364 Timothyridge Drive, St. Charles, Missouri 63304 or for more info see Roy Jackson's Site by clicking on the KRHS link below.

The KRHS Site

MKT Images

Contributors Image Page 1

Contributors Image Page 2

Remnants of the MKT 

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