Katy-UP Merger

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Katy-UP Merger
Posted by SFbrkmn on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 10:02 AM
20 yrs ago today the Katy was merged, by name, into Union Pacific. The rr  operations though themselves were not combined until 1989. I began watching the Katy @ Wichita after the company obtained former Rock Island trkage from Salina, KS to FTW/Dallas in 1980. Cline yd in north Wichita had a daytime yd job that worked daily and did lots of industry switching around town. The biggest shipper was the Cargill soybean plant that was switched twice a day. This was my top Katy spot, I got to know the yd crews quite well, I was invited for many cab rides @ the mill. Rd service was provided by trains 503/504 that ran from Herington, KS to FTW. All this came to an end on Nov 1, 1989 when operations were combined w/UP and the good ole days thus came to an end. Any othr forum members who have thrir own Katy memories at about merger time, please share.
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Posted by videomaker on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 11:45 AM

  I remember when the MKT worked their industies and did a good job,I knew a clerk at Hillsboro and he kept up with all of the local shippers between Waco,and FTW...When UP took over the local shippers all closed down except one I think..I dont know where all the grain is shipped from now that is grown in the area..I started shooting video of that operation and everyday I would shoot Katy trains if they were running..Right up to when they stopped..It didnt take UP long to repaint , sell,or give the cabooses and engines away...

Long live the KATY

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Posted by moelarrycurly4 on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 3:10 PM

I remember watching Katy trains running on the line out west of Hosuton along I-10 towards the town of Katy. They also ran the line thru Clear Lake City ( the old Houston, Galveston Henderson)  I like their colorful engines and coboose (Cabeese)

 

The line that ran along I-10 is no more ripped up not to many years after the UP merger/meltdown.

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Posted by Ulrich on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 3:26 PM
How is that pronounced...Cat- y or C ate- y?
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Posted by edblysard on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 3:32 PM
Kay-Tee...

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Posted by sunbeam on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 3:45 PM
I was in La Grange, Texas on that day. A loaded coal train headed for the Fayette Power Plant was running down the street past the MKT depot; it had a UP unit on the point and 2 or 3 green & yellow Katy units behind it. I didn't know that was the day of the merger until later, but I thought it was unusual to see UP power in Texas at that time.
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Posted by csmith9474 on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 4:51 PM
 moelarrycurly4 wrote:

I remember watching Katy trains running on the line out west of Hosuton along I-10 towards the town of Katy. They also ran the line thru Clear Lake City ( the old Houston, Galveston Henderson)  I like their colorful engines and coboose (Cabeese)

 

The line that ran along I-10 is no more ripped up not to many years after the UP merger/meltdown.

One of the reasons that I always got excited about going to see grandma in Jacinto City was taking 10 into town exactly where you are talking about.

I grew up with the Katy in New Braunfels, TX. Not only did I live on Katy St for a period, but the Katy ROW was on the other side of the fence from my backyard, and also ran by the "daycare" that I stayed at after school.

As I got older, I started hanging out at the MoPac/Katy diamond. There was a nice pile of gravel that overlooked the diamond, so it was a great vantage point. I will never forget the first time I got a close up of a train pounding the diamond. It was also really cool that the ROW ran along Landa Park. Made for a great summer day to ride my bike down to the park, swim, and watch trains all day.

Unfortunately this was all after the depot was torn down, and the interlocking tower burned. I never got to see those structures first hand. Oh well. The foundation of the depot was still there, and the yard was for the most part still intact. There were even some old Adlake locks to be found buried (although they were pretty rusty). There were also usually some locomotives tied down there, I guess since local industry at the time justified the need to keep locomotives in NB (especially the ADM mill).

But then things suddenly changed. Trains stopped running on the Katy, the diamond was eventually removed, and the track gone in some places. The UP was really slow to remove the signal plant, so the dark target signals stood vigil for years after. Of course a small portion of the line was kept open to service the ADM flour mill, so it never really went completely away. It was nice that a small reminder remained in place of the great railroad that once traversed those sainted ribbons of steel .....

Then it happened. After the assumptions of abandonment, Schlitterbahn building an asphalt parking lot over the ROW for employees, after the farmers and ranchers building fences across the tracks (and removing rail in some places to build roads)..it came. The UP announced that it was bringing the line out of "storage", laying new rail, re-installing the diamond, and new signal plant. The Union Pacific never abaondonded the line; nobody ever thought to ask. So now the yellow and gray of the Union Pacific rolls merrily along with ghosts of yellow and green. A true testemant to the great railroad that once was; The Missouri Kansas and Texas......

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Posted by moelarrycurly4 on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 5:15 PM

 Ulrich wrote:
How is that pronounced...Cat- y or C ate- y?

 

What ed said Kay-Tee

hmm I happened to have found some old footage posted on you tube of the Line running out I-10 in Houston. The place was near the newly plotted "Park 10" industrial park.  can remeber exactly what cross road that was near, Dairy -ashford?, Bengal ?

 

It was Fry Road thats it.

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Posted by edblysard on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 5:31 PM

Between Bingle and Sibeler.

TDot bought the old Katy I10 line long ago...but UP had use of the line as long at the cement plant out in Katy shipped by rail...the plant closed, Uncle Pete ripped up the connection to Eureka yard at the SP/Katy diamond at Tower 13, and TDot got the ROW for the I 10 expansion...which should be done by next year.

Eureka yard is now simply a storage yard for UP, the line through the Houston Heights went the same time as the I10 row, Texas Crushed stone has the run of the yard.

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Posted by nordique72 on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 8:13 PM

Ed,

 The cement plant at Katy still ships by rail- TXI ships outbound unit cement to the west now- on Sunday the UP 7500 and 2252 were the outbound power for the cement train. In addition to that Cemex receives a unit rock train a couple times a week on the west side of Katy, and the UP runs a local from the west into Katy as well. The line between Katy and just east of the I-10/610 interchange is completely obliterated by the new I-10- Eureka Yard on the other hand has been reconditioned in the last couple years- while most of the tracks were removed- they rebuilt what was left to receive rock trains from Kerr, TX and they also host a pair of locals that use a new connection the UP built so the trains don't have to back into Eureka anymore. As an aside- the UP was mainly able to abandon the MKT into Houston after they got trackage rights on the BNSF (a ATSF/BN merger condition) from Sealy to Rosenberg to accomodate the trains coming into Houston off the old MKT from Smithville. The UP had been pressured by the TXDOT got get trains out of the Katy-Houston I-10 corridor and the BNSF rights afforded that.

As for my own MKT memories- I can recall when the MKT got rights from KC to Omaha on the UP's ex-Mopac main as a condition of the UP/MP merger. I thought the green and yellow MKT units were quite the sight to see coming into Omaha- too bad it didn't last that long.

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Posted by Rustyrex on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 8:29 PM
I remember the Katy mostly from the OKT around Herington, KS. The daily Small manifest freights running from Herington to Abilene, ks, then via UP to Salina, KS.  Larger, heavier unit grain trains always seemed to get off the OKT at Lost Springs, KS onto the AT&SF to run to Abilene, then UP to Salina, KS.  Much better track for heavier trains, plus not having to snake through the SSW yard at Herington, KS to reach OKT's Salina branch.  Power was mostly 4 axle green and yellow, Conrail blue, Kennecott Copper yellow, ICG mixed, just about anything they could dig up for the OKT.  Local MKT-OKT power plus cabooses would layover on the main line next to a hotel south of Herington, KS, and it was always something different each time.
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Posted by moelarrycurly4 on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 9:02 PM
 edblysard wrote:

Between Bingle and Sibeler.

TDot bought the old Katy I10 line long ago...but UP had use of the line as long at the cement plant out in Katy shipped by rail...the plant closed, Uncle Pete ripped up the connection to Eureka yard at the SP/Katy diamond at Tower 13, and TDot got the ROW for the I 10 expansion...which should be done by next year.

Eureka yard is now simply a storage yard for UP, the line through the Houston Heights went the same time as the I10 row, Texas Crushed stone has the run of the yard.

 

ok I knew it was that away somewhere. Darn they tore the line thru the Heights out. I have some pictures from Eureaka from about 1990. they tore the I-10 line out after I moved. I noticed on the google sat picture that the line "starts" again at Katy and goes west towards Sealy. I miss railfanning Houston just not teh neighborhoods you had to go to to do so.

Does UP still run the former SP yard Englewood ( was that the name?)

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Posted by kog1027 on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 9:36 PM

I was born & raised in Durant, Oklahoma on the Katy main between KC & the Gulf.  Watched many trains there and in the headquarters town of Denison, Texas.  Spent countless hours with the three shift operators in Durant, 1st & 2nd were Katy the 3rd trick operator was provided by the MP - TP ( KO&G ).

When the UP started to acquire the Katy I was living in Denison and working for one of the Katy's bigger customers - Conway Oil - an edible oil plant.  We got assorted documents from the UP & Katy that gave an address with the ICC to write to.  I wrote and voiced my objection, along with about 50 other Denison residents, to the UP buying the Katy.  I was still getting legal notifications from that one letter some 4 years later in 1991.  I ended up with two banker's boxes full of paperwork from Railroads, Shippers, Cities, States and Community groups.

Reading it all there was more than enough facts to prove that the UP acquisition was not in the best interest of the Katy's Employees, the Businesses or Communities served by the Katy.  A reasonable person would have said No to the application.  Politics prevailed and the sale was approved.

I won't forget the Katy, you can count on it.

Mark Gosdin

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Posted by csmith9474 on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 9:39 PM

I really missed the Katy along IH10. I was through there a couple of times in the 2001-2003 timeframe, and it was the first time I had been back since it was ripped out.

 

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Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 10:32 PM

 kog1027 wrote:
Reading it all there was more than enough facts to prove that the UP acquisition was not in the best interest of the Katy's Employees, the Businesses or Communities served by the Katy.  A reasonable person would have said No to the application.  Politics prevailed and the sale was approved.

The Katy owed the MP/UP millions of dollars in car hire and horsepower hours.  The MP and the MKT shared mainlines for a huge amount of mileage.  Most of the "improved" mainline of the MKT (CTC, etc) was where the MP had trackage rights over the MKT and paid to have the signals installed.  The MKT was a very cool railroad and a very nice property, but it was on a downward spiral.  The UP merger kept the majority of its rail lines intact.  Otherwise it was headed on the same path as the Rock.  The UP merger kept the majority of the MKT employees employed.  Several of the MKT mainlines pre-UP merger are now bike paths, most of the MKT mainlines post merger are still main lines.

I respect the Katy for being a real scapper in the railroad fight, but it was better to go out intact in a merger than be split up in dozen directions in a fire sale like the Rock.

Dave H.

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Posted by doghouse on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 10:48 PM

 

Speaking of the Katy, I don't know if they trackage rights into El Paso, but in the early '80's you could often see them in the Dallas st. yard.  You always knew when a Katy unit was in the lead by their distinctive horn blowing at the grade crossings.  

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Posted by edblysard on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 5:00 AM

Everything that was MoPac, Katy and SP in Houston is now UP property.

Englewood, Settagast, Basin and Booth yards are UP, as is what is left of Eureka, and the MoPac portion of the old Houston Belt and Terminal.

 moelarrycurly4 wrote:
 edblysard wrote:

Between Bingle and Sibeler.

TDot bought the old Katy I10 line long ago...but UP had use of the line as long at the cement plant out in Katy shipped by rail...the plant closed, Uncle Pete ripped up the connection to Eureka yard at the SP/Katy diamond at Tower 13, and TDot got the ROW for the I 10 expansion...which should be done by next year.

Eureka yard is now simply a storage yard for UP, the line through the Houston Heights went the same time as the I10 row, Texas Crushed stone has the run of the yard.

 

ok I knew it was that away somewhere. Darn they tore the line thru the Heights out. I have some pictures from Eureaka from about 1990. they tore the I-10 line out after I moved. I noticed on the google sat picture that the line "starts" again at Katy and goes west towards Sealy. I miss railfanning Houston just not teh neighborhoods you had to go to to do so.

Does UP still run the former SP yard Englewood ( was that the name?)

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Posted by kog1027 on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 6:23 AM
 dehusman wrote:

 kog1027 wrote:
Reading it all there was more than enough facts to prove that the UP acquisition was not in the best interest of the Katy's Employees, the Businesses or Communities served by the Katy.  A reasonable person would have said No to the application.  Politics prevailed and the sale was approved.

The Katy owed the MP/UP millions of dollars in car hire and horsepower hours.  The MP and the MKT shared mainlines for a huge amount of mileage.  Most of the "improved" mainline of the MKT (CTC, etc) was where the MP had trackage rights over the MKT and paid to have the signals installed.  The MKT was a very cool railroad and a very nice property, but it was on a downward spiral.  The UP merger kept the majority of its rail lines intact.  Otherwise it was headed on the same path as the Rock.  The UP merger kept the majority of the MKT employees employed.  Several of the MKT mainlines pre-UP merger are now bike paths, most of the MKT mainlines post merger are still main lines.

I respect the Katy for being a real scapper in the railroad fight, but it was better to go out intact in a merger than be split up in dozen directions in a fire sale like the Rock.

Dave H.

Dave,

I can't speak as to what was owed to who on the Katy's books.  However, the Katy used USRA loans ( Part of the Conrail deal offered to "Connecting" railroads, Katy connected at St. Louis. ) to finance the rehab of their KC - Gulf mainline.  Those loans were all repaid by the early 80's.  The Katy's ex-RI OKKT main was rehabbed using money from the Shipper's Associations in Texas & Kansas and direct grant money from the State of Oklahoma.  The MP / UP as far as I know did not pay for any renovations of the Katy's property. 

I remember the MP dispatchers complaining long and loud about the time it took to move from Whitesboro, Texas - where the MP's rights over the Katy main began - to Durant, Oklahoma - where the MP got back on the ex-KO&G.  In the very early 70's it took longer to cover that 30 mile segment than it did to go the 100+ miles from Durant to Muskogee, Oklahoma.

The Katy's sale to the UP cost hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in payroll & property taxes in cities all thru Kansas, Oklahoma & Texas.  One of my friends was stopped by police in a small Oklahoma town for speeding ( Speed Trap, the signs were very much obscured. ) the officer saw that my friend was a railfan and spent quite a bit of time cursing the UP for pulling up the tracks in their town.  He stated that the Speed Trap was the city's response to the hole that had been made in their budget.  As a side note, that particular town went bankrupt in the early 1990's.

The Katy might have gone the way of the RI.  It might not have as well.  The similarly situated KCS did not.

As I said, I will always remember the Katy.  You can count on it.

Mark Gosdin

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Posted by R. T. POTEET on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 4:21 PM

WHAT! KATY WAS MERGED INTO UP? Next thing you know somebody is going to say that Conrail doesn't exist anymore!

From the far, far reaches of the wild, wild west I am: rtpoteet

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Posted by SFbrkmn on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 5:29 PM

The building Katy used as its yd office @  Herington was one or two rooms rented in the Sleep In Motel on the south side of town next to the trks. Power & caboose would be tied up there when not in use. Hey, whatever works. I was working @ Cargill Flour Milling in Newton, KS @ the time of the merger. Even though we were switched by SF, we shipped large volumes of export flour on the UP which interchanged traffic w/ SF in town. This was in standard UP/MP boxcars. Not too long after the merger when the Katy fleet was combined into the UP fleet, OKKT boxcars began to show up @ the mill which made a change to the freight car scene. Never did receive any MKT airlsides for bulk loading but some wheat did arrive in MKT hoppers. The Katy was truly a unique rr, perhaps the last "Ma & Pa' class 1 we'll ever see. I'm glad I had the chance to observe it for the last fews yrs before it was merged. This interest inspired me to explore parts of the Katy Trail in MO and in 1990, join the Katy Historical Society. Haven't made it to a yrly convention since 2000 but hope to do so within the next few yrs.

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Posted by fuzzybroken on Monday, August 18, 2008 2:46 AM
 csmith9474 wrote:

Then it happened. After the assumptions of abandonment, Schlitterbahn building an asphalt parking lot over the ROW for employees, after the farmers and ranchers building fences across the tracks (and removing rail in some places to build roads)..it came. The UP announced that it was bringing the line out of "storage", laying new rail, re-installing the diamond, and new signal plant. The Union Pacific never abaondonded the line; nobody ever thought to ask. So now the yellow and gray of the Union Pacific rolls merrily along with ghosts of yellow and green. A true testemant to the great railroad that once was; The Missouri Kansas and Texas......


Ha, great story!

Just want to throw in a technicality here...  MKT was merged into MP; not that it particularly makes any difference, since MP had been a ward of UP since '82.  (Or was it the other way around...?)  The corporate remains of MP actually outlasted CNW...  SP too, though I don't want to get too deep in, uh, technicalities... Wink [;)]

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Posted by doghouse on Monday, August 18, 2008 4:48 PM
 fuzzybroken wrote:
 csmith9474 wrote:

Then it happened. After the assumptions of abandonment, Schlitterbahn building an asphalt parking lot over the ROW for employees, after the farmers and ranchers building fences across the tracks (and removing rail in some places to build roads)..it came. The UP announced that it was bringing the line out of "storage", laying new rail, re-installing the diamond, and new signal plant. The Union Pacific never abaondonded the line; nobody ever thought to ask. So now the yellow and gray of the Union Pacific rolls merrily along with ghosts of yellow and green. A true testemant to the great railroad that once was; The Missouri Kansas and Texas......


Ha, great story!

Just want to throw in a technicality here...  MKT was merged into MP; not that it particularly makes any difference, since MP had been a ward of UP since '82.  (Or was it the other way around...?)  The corporate remains of MP actually outlasted CNW...  SP too, though I don't want to get too deep in, uh, technicalities... Wink [;)]

No, no, no, go ahead, Go deep.  Love to hear about the Mopac.

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Posted by garyla on Monday, August 18, 2008 5:11 PM

The Oklahoma town story brings to mind one of the reasons that some railroads struggled in the 20th century.  This was the many bloodsucking local and state governments who tried to pay their way on huge disproportionate property taxes levied against the carriers.

During the Penn Central receivership hearings, one local government official (from a county in Indiana, possibly) complained that not being able to collect property taxes from bankrupt PC was seriously dragging down a local school district.  The judge asked the official how many children the railroad sent to classes there. 

(Remember that the employees who lived there and did have children paid their own sales and property taxes.)

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Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 9:17 AM

 SFbrkmn wrote:
The building Katy used as its yd office @  Herington was one or two rooms rented in the Sleep In Motel on the south side of town next to the trks. 

The Katy Dispatch office in Denison, TX was a former "Piggly Wiggly" grocery store and the "records department" was a 50 ft boxcar.

I remember watching the Katy pile driver south of Tower 55 in Ft Worth driving H piles and then slipping boxcar doors between the piles to form a retaining wall.

Toward the end the Katy was a very colorful road.  Besides the yellow and green katy units, there were a few old red units and a bunch of "new" engines, recycled engines from other roads.  A consist might pull in with a blue ex-CR, a black ex-PC, a white and orange ex-ICG and even a rare yellow ex-Kennecott Copper engine (they were easy to spot because the fuel tanks were higher.

Dave H.

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Posted by Ishmael on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 2:09 PM

Katy, or at least its remnant, is still having troubles. The hiking trail in MO from Sedalia to St. Charles has been completed. It is very popular and in good shape. Trouble is, it crosses the Missouri River in Boone County on an old steel drawbridge, a quite impressive structure.

UP wants to tear down the bridge for the steel. This would cut the trail in half. The last I heard the bridge was still there, but there are lawsuits pending.

Poor Katy. I miss her also, especially the John Deere color scheme.

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Posted by Bob-Fryml on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 5:55 PM

Initially, during December 1982, the Union Pacific Railroad Company absorbed the Western Pacific Railroad Company, and Pacific Rail Systems, Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Union Pacific Corporation) gained ownership of two wholly separate railroads:  U.P. and MoPac.  During 1988 MoPac acquired the Missouri-Kansas-Texas and Oklahoma-Kansas-Texas for something like $110-million. 

But, here's the clincher:  Ross Perot (?) wanted the land - a full square block, mind you - on which the Katy headquarters building stood along with its adjacent parking lot.  He paid MoPac something like $100-million for that little piece of prime downtown Dallas real estate; so, really, the MoPac gained control of the Katy for not much more "than the price of a song."

Before the federal clean air legislation of the late 1970s, the ol' Katy seemed to be pretty much a hand-to-mouth operation.  It wasn't until they abandoned their broken-down Parsons-St. Louis segment and they started gaining a few unit train coal contracts out of the Powder River Basin that their fortunes really began to turn around.  Back in 1988/1989 their right-of-way through Muskogee, Oklahoma USA was even beginning to look pretty good! 

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Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 6:21 PM

 Ishmael wrote:
UP wants to tear down the bridge for the steel. This would cut the trail in half. The last I heard the bridge was still there, but there are lawsuits pending.

The UP owns the bridges on the trail and wants to use the bridge to double track a single track portion of the UP's Sedalia Sub on the other side of the river.  They would relocate it on the Sedalia Sub and it would once again carry trains.

Dave H.

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Posted by Ishmael on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 7:06 PM
 dehusman wrote:

 Ishmael wrote:
UP wants to tear down the bridge for the steel. This would cut the trail in half. The last I heard the bridge was still there, but there are lawsuits pending.

The UP owns the bridges on the trail and wants to use the bridge to double track a single track portion of the UP's Sedalia Sub on the other side of the river.  They would relocate it on the Sedalia Sub and it would once again carry trains.

Dave H.

Thanks for the information, Dave. Either way, the trail has problems.

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Posted by N737AA on Thursday, August 21, 2008 12:58 PM
 Bob-Fryml wrote:

Back in 1988/1989 their right-of-way through Muskogee, Oklahoma USA was even beginning to look pretty good! 

I know they run the Ach Ee Double EL out of that line now!

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Posted by txhighballer on Thursday, August 21, 2008 10:02 PM
The day of the turnover was indeed a dark one.... a General Order was sent out that MKT units were to no longer lead trains and to enforce that fact,20 UP SD40-2's were sent down from Fort Worth to make it stick. The next day or two some of those UP units were...ahem....bad ordered....

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