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KCS E9M No. 23 with Train No. 2, The Southern Belle at the Pittsburg, Kansas station on July 30, 1967. 23 was built as E3 No. 3 and rebuilt in Oct. 1952.

(Roger Puta, courtesy Marty Bernard, railfan 44, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

 

KCS herald.

KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN RAILWAY

The Kansas City Southern Railway Company (reporting mark KCS) was an American Class I railroad. Founded in 1887, it operated in 10 Midwestern and Southeastern U.S. states: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. KCS had the shortest north-south rail route between Kansas City, Missouri, and several key ports along the Gulf of Mexico.

The focus of the routes was the fastest way to connect Kansas City to salt water ports (it was 800 miles from Kansas City to the Gulf of Mexico compared to 1,400 miles between Kansas City and the Atlantic Ocean ports.

KCS operated over a railroad system consisting of 3,984 route miles (6,412 km) that extend south to the Mexico–United States border at which point another KCS-operated railroad, Kansas City Southern de México (KCSM), hauls freight into northeastern and central Mexico and to several Gulf of Mexico ports and the Pacific Port of Lázaro Cárdenas.

Canadian Pacific Railway purchased KCS in December 2021 for US$31 billion. On April 14, 2023, the railroads merged to form CPKC, the first and only to directly serve Canada, Mexico and the United States.

 

Kansas City Southern Railway system map.

(No machine-readable author provided. NE2 assumed (based on copyright claims)., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

 

Arthur Stilwell, founder of KCS.

(Kansas City Public Library, Public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

History

Origins (1887–1900)

Arthur Stilwell began construction on the first line of what would eventually become the Kansas City Southern Railway in 1887, in suburban Kansas City, MO. Together with Edward L. Martin, Stilwell built the Kansas City Suburban Belt Railway, a 20-mile long railroad, which was incorporated in 1887 and began operation in 1890.

In 1897, Stilwell completed the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad Company (KCP&G) with a route running north and south from Kansas City to Shreveport, Louisiana, terminating at Port Arthur, Texas. In order to comply with Louisiana laws Stilwell, William S. Taylor, E. L. Martin, and others, officers of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Trust Company of Kansas City, Missouri, as well as the KCP&G, incorporated the Kansas City, Shreveport & Gulf Railway Company (KCS&G) on September 27, 1894, to build or acquire railroads in Louisiana.

The Arkansas Construction Company completed a 41.10-mile line from Arkansas-Louisiana State line (northern terminus with the Texarkana & Fort Smith Railway Company) to Shreveport on April 15, 1896. The Kansas City Terminal Construction Company completed a 76.40-mile Shreveport to Many line on October 26, 1896, an 85.80-mile Many to De Quincy line on June 30, 1897, and the 19.16-mile De Quincy to the Louisiana-Texas state line on September 11, 1897, where the southern terminus was with the Texarkana & Fort Smith Railway Company. A 26.60-mile narrow gauge branch line was acquired from the Calcasieu, Vernon & Shreveport Railway Company (CV&S), through the Arkansas Construction Company, that ran from De Quincy, West Lake, Lake Charles, and Lockport, and the construction company widened the tracks to standard gauge. In 1895 the KCP&G entered into a contract with the KCS&G to operate and maintain its property.

In 1900, KCP&G was taken over by the Kansas City Southern Railway Company (KCS).

By 1914 the KCS owned the separate entities of the Arkansas Western Railway Company, Fort Smith & Van Buren Railway Company, Kansas City, Shreveport & Gulf Railway Company, the Kansas City, Shreveport & Gulf Terminal Company, the Maywood & Sugar Creek Railway Company, the Port Arthur Canal & Dock Company, the Poteau Valley Railroad Company, the Texarkana & Fort Smith Railway Company, the Arkansas Western Railway Company, the Glenn Pool Tank Line Company, the Joplin Union Depot Company, the Kansas City Terminal Railway Company, and the K. C. S. Elevator Company.

 

KCS 3999, an EMD SD70ACe.

(terry cantrell, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

 

20th century (1900–2000)

In 1962, Kansas City Southern Industries, Inc. (KCSI) was established when the company began to diversify its interests into other industries. At that time, KCS became a subsidiary of KCSI. In 2002, KCSI formally changed its name to Kansas City Southern (KCS), with KCS remaining a subsidiary.

From 1940 to 1969, the Kansas City Southern operated two primary passenger trains, the Flying Crow (Trains Nos. 15 & 16) between Kansas City and Port Arthur (discontinued on May 11, 1968) and the Southern Belle (Trains Nos. 1 & 2) between Kansas City and New Orleans (discontinued on November 2, 1969). In 1995, a new Southern Belle was created as an executive train to entertain shippers and guests. It also pulls the Holiday Express train in December, making the rounds to several KCS cities and stations.

 

Photograph of the KCS Southern Belle business train on the tracks in Port Arthur, Texas, March 14, 1997. (James Everett, University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Museum of the Gulf Coast.)

The Kansas City Southern's historic depot at Port Arthur was built by Arthur Stillwell. (University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Port Arthur Public Library.)

 

Access to Mexico

in 1996 Kansas City Southern Industries purchased a Mexican government concession to operate trains on a rail system in Mexico. This was due to the privatization of the Mexican railways which was losing money, had fallen into a state of disrepair, and needed expensive infrastructure upgrading to become profitable. The concession was to operate the 3,315 mile (5,335-km) "Northeast Railroad" connecting Monterrey and Mexico City with a US port of entry at Laredo, Texas and seaports at Lázaro Cárdenas and Veracruz. This potentially very profitable concession was hotly bid on by many major companies, including the very large Union Pacific Railroad. Thie Northeast Railroad tracks carried 46% of all rail traffic in Mexico and 60% of all freight coming from and to the United States. Eleven of fourteen of Mexico's auto assembly plants, plus two more under construction, are located on this line. Auto and parts freight traffic accounted for 9% of the 2012 total carloads.

 

A passenger train at the KCS depot in Port Arthur, Texas. (James Everett, University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Port Arthur Public Library. Cropped)

Kansas City Southern's "The Flying Crow" train No. 15, southbound, headed by diesel locomotive No. 34, arriving in Texarkana, on the Texas-Arkansas border in 1951. (Roger S. Plummer, University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Museum of the American Railroad.)

 

21st century (2000–present)

On March 21, 2021, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) announced that it was purchasing KCS for US$29 billion. Prior, a competing cash and stock offer was made by Canadian National Railway (CN) on April 20, 2021 at $33.7 billion. On May 13, 2021, KCS announced in a statement that they planned to accept the higher offer from CN, but would give CP until May 21 to come up with a higher bid, which was not made. However, CN's merger attempt would be blocked by a STB ruling in August 2021 that the company could not use a voting trust to assume control of KCS, due to concerns about potentially reduced competition in the railroad industry.

On September 12, 2021 KCS accepted a new $31 billion offer from CP. Though CP's offer was lower than the offer made by CN, the STB permitted CP to use a voting trust to take control of KCS. The voting trust allowed CP to become the beneficial owner of KCS in December 2021, but the two railroads operated independently until receiving approval for a merger of operations from the STB. That approval came on March 15, 2023, which permitted the railroads to merge as soon as April 14, 2023. The merger was completed on April 14.

 

Kansas City Southern Railway's "Southern Belle" train No. 1, southbound, crossing Truman Road enroute

from Kansas City to Shreveport, Louisiana. Kansas City in the distance, 1959.

(University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Museum of the American Railroad.)

 

Operations

KCS hauls freight for seven major government and business sectors: agriculture and minerals, military, automotive, chemical and petroleum, energy, industrial and consumer products and intermodal.

KCS has the shortest north-south rail route between Kansas City, Missouri, and several key ports along the Gulf of Mexico in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. The KCS, along with the Union Pacific railroad, is one of only two Class I railroads based in the United States that has not originated as the result of a merger between previously separate companies.

The company owns or contracts with intermodal facilities along its rail network in Kansas City, Mo; Jackson, Miss.; Wylie, Texas; Kendleton, Texas; and Laredo, Texas.

KCS operates over a railroad system consisting of 3,984 route miles (6,412 km) that extend south to the Mexico–United States border at which point another KCS railroad, Kansas City Southern de México (KCSM), can haul freight into northeastern and central Mexico and to the Gulf of Mexico ports of Tampico, Altamira, and Veracruz, as well as to the Pacific Port of Lázaro Cárdenas, fulfilling the vision of KCS founder Arthur Edward Stilwell.

 

Corporate structure

Kansas City Southern Railway was owned by Kansas City Southern, known as Kansas City Southern Industries until 2002, which in turn also owned other companies like Kansas City Southern de México and the Panama Canal Railway's operator, Panama Canal Railway Company.

 

Kansas City Southern KCS 676, an SD40-2. (Gary Todd from Xinzheng, China, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Parked freight trains at the Kansas City Southern yards in Wharton County, TX, March 2014. (Carol M. Highsmith, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Kansas City Southern Railway No. 2, a GMD FP9, September 27, 2007. (terry cantrell, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons) 

 

Overview

Parent company: Kansas City Southern
Headquarters: Kansas City, Missouri
Reporting mark: KCS
Locale: Midwestern and Southeastern United States
Dates of operation: 1887–2023
Predecessor: Kansas City Suburban Belt Railroad; Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad
Successor: CPKC
Technical
Track gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length: 3,984 miles (6,412 km)
Other
Website: kcsouthern.com

 

See Also:

Railroads A-Z