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Missouri Kansas Texas Railroad Tower

Location Class:
Built: 1926 | Abandoned: N/A
Status: Abandoned
Photojournalist: Johnny Fletcher

A little history on the MKT Railroad:

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 the Katy crashed two locomotives at a site that came to be known thereafter as Crush, Texas.
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.

The Katy’s purchase by the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company (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.[1] 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.
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Michael Schwarz

Starting from a young age, I’ve always loved exploring. I can remember venturing off and scoping out the houses being built in the developing neighborhood right behind my house. As I got older, I found myself appreciating the work and love that went into architecture and just being excited to pass by the beautifully designed places in downtown.

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Jewish classifieds
7 years ago

The posts that are shared here on the site about the abandoned places in Oklahoma proved to be a great and informative one. I really enjoy these posts about the abandoned places. Keep up the good work guys.

310S Pipes
7 years ago

Indeed a workable thought by the people. Is the place still renovated, or it will take sometime.

11 years ago

I have some photos of this coaling tower being built. They cleared the area north of it last year and built a new county detention facility. Most people did not know or care what the concrete structure was. I spoke to the city manager and the railroad and I think its safe for now.

Loren Colker
Loren Colker
11 years ago

I was covering my eyes watching the trailer. Def want to see this one.Report this comment as spam or abuse

11 years ago

That coal tower and one like it in Cushing, Oklahoma, were built but never used by the MKT.

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11 years ago

Magnificent web site. A lot of helpful information here. I am sending it to several buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you to your sweat!

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Lady Lelouch
Lady Lelouch
11 years ago

The dead cat scared the crap out of me.

Reply to  Lady Lelouch
8 years ago

To me it looks like their is more than one. That is sad-poor cat/s

11 years ago

The Degolyer Library at Southern Methodist University has some M-K-T RR building plans for a small coaling tower that looks to be this same one. Last month there was a report that a government office was to be built near the coaling tower and it would be torn down in the near future.

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12 years ago

Ive been looking over your posts and really like it. thanks for the great reads! do you ever do any biking ?

12 years ago

My Grandfather worked for the Katy, on this part of the line from Osage to Parsons KS. He told me about the Steam engines being serviced at this Tipple coming in from Oklahoma City. He said him and his friend Skeeter would be on a siding with their motor car and watch the fancy people on the train heading to KC.

Friends of the Katy Trail
13 years ago

Thanks for the great history with the modern update. If you want more, check out the incredibly dull but very detailed book titled “The KATY Railroad and the Last Frontier” by V.V. Masterson.

AbandonedOK Team
AbandonedOK Team
Reply to  Friends of the Katy Trail
13 years ago

Thanks guys!
For all those interested, here is the link to buy the book at Amazon
Buy Book on Amazon

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