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The Katy Railroad or MKT Railroad
I've lived all my life within a very short distance of the MKT or Katy Railroad. It's been as much a part of my life as any other facet of my central Texas upbringing.
I remember as a small girl, my dad would take me to the Katy switch-yards and Warden shop in the small town of Bellmead, Texas (near Waco) where I grew up. It was commonly referred to as the Katy Shops. It was fascinating to see so many train tracks converging in one area.
Trains have always made my heart race just a bit. I often wondered why. In my early 20s my mother revealed to me that as a small child we lived in a house that sat very close to the tracks and a train startled me pretty badly once. I guess that explains it.
I thought I would share a little bit about the MKT, or Katy Railroad with you.
MKT or Katy Railroad Fast Facts
- The Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad was better known as simply The Katy
- It was nicknamed The Katy because K-T was it's stock exchange symbol.
- The railroad runs north-south through Missouri, Kansas and Texas, hence the M, the K and the T. It was the first railroad to enter Texas through the north.
- The Katy Railroad dates back to 1865 when the Union Pacific Railway (later changed to the Missouri Kansas and Texas Railroad in 1870) was chartered to build a line connecting Junction City, Kansas to New Orleans, Louisiana.
- The Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad was incorporated May 23, 1870
- It was leased to the Missouri Pacific in 1880 and became part of the Jay Gould empire for a time, which lasted until 1888. The biggest advantage the Katy gained from this leasing was that it acquired new markets and reached cities like Fort Worth, Dallas, and Waco, Texas.
- On June 6, 1870, Katy laid the first rails across the Kansas border
- The Katy Railroad continued to lay rails southward reaching Dallas in 1886, Waco in 1888, Houston in 1893, San Antonio in 1901
- Once they reached Houston, the joint ownership of the Galveston, Houston and Henderson Railroad gave the Katy immediate access to the Port of Galveston
- In 1896, as a publicity stunt the Katy crashed two locomotives at a site that came to be known thereafter as Crush, Texas. It is located about 14 miles north of Waco. I have written a hub about this incident.
- From 1915 until January 4, 1959, the Katy, in a joint venture with the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway, also known as the Frisco, operated the Texas Special. This luxury passenger train ran from St. Louis to Dallas, Ft. Worth, and San Antonio. It had rail cars with famous Texas names like Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin, David Crockett, and James Bowie.
- In 1988 the Katy Railroad was bought out by the Union Pacific Railroad.
Presidents of the MKT Railroad
- Charles E. Schaff, 1923-1926
- Charles N. Whitehead, 1926
- Columbus Haile, 1927-1930
- 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
- Harold L. Gastler, 1975-1988
Color Schemes for the Locomotives, Rolling Stock, & Cabooses
- 1870-1947 the steam locomotives were shiny black with the MKT herald on their coal cars (tenders)
- 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.
Lots of MKT/Katy Railroad Resources
- Katy Railroad Historical Society
- Mkt railroad - Hot Hubs
Mkt railroad - Listing of Hot Hubs-The Crash at Crush
- Links to hundreds of MKT-Katy Photos
- The Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, The Katy
The Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, The Katy on American Rails.com
- MKT Railroad Map
Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad / M-K-T / Katy Lines Map
- M-K-T Railroad, Co. pictures from trains photos on webshots
M-K-T Railroad, Co. pictures published by rwhamm
- MKT Photos in Missouri
- Historic Bridges of the U.S. featuring the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad
- Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad - Wikipedia
- Katy Trail State Park