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The Katy Railroad or MKT Railroad

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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 (Missouri, Kansas, Texas) Railroad also know as Katy Railroad

MKT (Missouri, Kansas, Texas) Railroad also know as Katy Railroad

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


Arthur L. Daniel on January 14, 2012:

Enjoyed your website. I am a third generation Katy employee.I started as a messenger boy in San Antonio in 1950, later worked as a clerk in Houston, and then to Dallas as a switchman and retired as a yardmaster . My grandfather was a yardmaster at Sloan Yard in San Antonio and my Dad and uncle were swithcmen there.

Betty King on January 04, 2012:

I can tell my wole story later but at the moment I am trying to find the address of the Katy Office and Warehouse builing in Houston, Texas in the 1930's, 40's, 50's. My father was the warehouse foreman and I was at the building many times. I think Hardy Street may have been on the west side of the building but I am not sue and I don't know the name of the east/west street in front of the building.

KRC (author) from Central Texas on November 04, 2011:

Kathy Duffy wrote:

I'm looking for any info on Hugh Duffy who worked for the Katy in/around 1940. He is my husband's uncle. I heard he could have been an engineer. Would any of you know where I could get info? Thank you.


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KRC (author) from Central Texas on October 06, 2011:

Thanks for stopping by Leah. I've heard stories of quite a few people who lost their hearing from all the noise there. Bet it was something!

Leah R. on October 06, 2011:

My grandfather, Everett Edsol January Sr., worked for the Katy in Waco. He lost his hearing working in the round house.

His father worked there for a little while, but his legs were bad and couldn't take all the walking.

Love the history!

KRC (author) from Central Texas on January 19, 2011:

Thank you for stopping by Al. It was pretty common for generations to work there, wasn't it?

Al on January 19, 2011:

Just found u. thanks.

Katy was it to granddad,dad and me..when i locked my station door and walked away in 87

KRC (author) from Central Texas on October 28, 2009:

Awesome Peggy! Thanks! I just added your link here too!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 28, 2009:

Hi KCC...Happily linked your hub to my Los Patios hub. Done!

KRC (author) from Central Texas on October 24, 2009:

Awesome, Texas Takeover. I bet it was a great experience. Thanks for stopping by. Hope it stirred some fond memories for you.

Texas Takeover on October 24, 2009:

I used to live by the MKT building

Great experience

KRC (author) from Central Texas on October 22, 2009:

Thanks Peggy! Once you post it I can add your link to mine as well. I have a couple of other related hubs, one is about the Crash at Crush and one is about steam railroad excursions.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 22, 2009:

What a great hub! Plan to include it with the one I am now working on regarding Los Patios in San Antonio where the old Katy Railroad window now resides. I also did an original linocut of that window. Happy to have stumbled upon this hub! Thanks for all your good research and interesting tidbits.

KRC (author) from Central Texas on July 27, 2009:

I dunno dohn....sounds like a good hub topic for YOU to research and write a hub about. :)

Thanks for stopping by!

dohn121 from Hudson Valley, New York on July 27, 2009:

Hi, KCC Big Country, a great and fun hub. Just a question as a kind of myth buster: Do you know if train robberies occurred during the mid-to-late 19th century? I remember seeing them in old westerns and would like to know its validity.

KRC (author) from Central Texas on July 27, 2009:

Awwww..thank you Maggs! That is actually how I determine what to write about. I think of something that I have experienced, or means something to me, like memories from the past, and then ask myself if the topic could be of interest to anyone else. Then I do the research to gather the factual parts. The hub then becomes a mixture of my personal experience and a bit of trivia. Thanks for stopping by, as always!

maggs224 from Sunny Spain on July 27, 2009:

I love Hubpages you get to read juicy titbits and find out odd facts written with just enough personal background to transform the interesting into the fascinating.

KRC (author) from Central Texas on July 27, 2009:

This song you're talking about was in the information I researched for this hub. There were also a couple of others. I almost included a bit about that, but decided not to in the end. But, yes, that is what the Katy is. Thanks for stopping by Eric!

Eric Graudins from Australia on July 27, 2009:

There's a song in the film "The Blues Brothers" that goes:

"She caught the Katy, left me a mule to ride".

I always wondered what the Katy was.

Thanks for letting me know :)

Hope I'm not infringing on lgali's copyright, but:

"Great Hub"

KRC (author) from Central Texas on July 26, 2009:

LOL...what about "My Baby Thinks He's a Train" by Roseanne Cash?

caymanhost from Cayman Islands on July 26, 2009:

This one made me think of the song "Jenny Dreams Of Trains" that I always loved (The Vince Gill version please). The fact that it's all about trains probably has something to do with that ;-)

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