A Portion of the KATY Railroad is Completed: March 15, 1893

KATY Railroad
Public Domain

Work was completed on the KATY railroad between St. Charles and New Franklin on this date.

The Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, commonly known as the MKT or Katy, was a significant railroad in the United States, with its history dating back to the 1860s. The origins of the MKT can be traced to the Union Pacific Railway, Southern Branch, which was chartered in 1865 to connect Junction City, Kansas, to New Orleans, Louisiana. Over the years, the railroad expanded through acquisitions and construction, eventually adopting the name Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad in 1870. The MKT’s expansion continued throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with the railroad becoming known for its distinctive red boxcars and the slogan “Katy Flyer” for its passenger service.

The MKT’s influence began to wane in the mid-20th century due to the rise of automobile and air travel, leading to a decline in passenger and freight services. In 1988, the MKT was merged into the Union Pacific Railroad, marking the end of its independent operations.

Today we know the portion of the Katy railroad that used to traverse our state as Katy Trail State Park. The transformation into a walking, biking, and equestrian trail began in the late 1980s when the Missouri Department of Natural Resources acquired the abandoned railway corridor through a rails-to-trails program. The Katy Trail is now one of the longest rail-trails in the United States, stretching approximately 240 miles from Machens to Clinton, Missouri. The trail offers a scenic journey through Missouri’s countryside, along the Missouri River, and through historic towns, preserving the legacy of the MKT Railroad while providing a valuable outdoor resource for our state.