M-K-T Train No.6, The "Katy Flyer" slows through Dallas yard heading for Union Terminal behind a pair of Alco PA model 2000HP diesel-electric locomotives on June 18,1953. Click to enlarge. (Plummer, Roger S. ["The Katy Flyer" passing Dallas Yard], photograph, June 18, 1953; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth28849/m1/1/: accessed June 13, 2023), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Museum of the American Railroad.)


Katy Flyer drumhead.


The Katy Flyer was a named passenger train of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railway inaugurated in 1896. It ran for only one year, but four years later in 1900 it was reinstated. It than ran until 1959 between St. Louis and various endpoints in Southwest Texas, including San Antonio and Galveston, Texas. It was numbered train 5 (southbound) and train 6 (northbound).

In 1905 the train made the trip from Galveston to St. Louis, Missouri in about 37 hours. It was deemed "The Fast Train to St. Louis".


The Katy Flyer's consist included a boiler-buffet-sleeper for the dining enjoyment of those passengers who wished to have their meals served aboard the train. Other passengers were allowed to detrain at Dallas, Texas, McAlester, Oklahoma, or Parsons, Kansas where they could dine at one of the company-owned dining stations which advertised “the price is only fifty cents and the railway spares no pains or expenses to please the most fastidious.”

The Texas Special and Katy Limited were the top two passenger trains on the M-K-T by the mid-1920s and therefore received most of the attention. However, Trains Nos. 5 and 6 still carried the St. Louis-to-Galveston travelers, pulling no less than six sleepers. Many of these were destined for San Antonio, the city that Katy had proclaimed as “The Winter Playground of America.”

In 1936, the year of the Texas Centennial, the train was temporarily renamed the "Katy Centennial Flyer" and carried tourists to a variety of celebrations on the Katy’s service area.


The last two initials of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railway, K and T, gave the name 'Katy'. 


By the end of the Second World War, the Katy Flyer was on a downward trend. By 1948, service was cut back to St. Louis San Antonio, and meal services were also truncated. By 1961 the train's wonderful name had disappeared, with Nos. 5 and 6 providing only coach service. All M-K-T passenger services ended on June 30, 1965. By 1988, the M-K-T itself was gone after merging into the Missouri Pacific.

Nevertheless, the Katy and its passenger train services were an important factor in the history and growth of Southwest Texas. No other M-K-T train was more prominent in this endeavor than the Katy Flyer.

Katy Limited

An important named train of the M-K-T was the Katy Limited. Inaugurated in 1910, it was train numbers 3 and 4 and served Kansas City-Dallas, with sections to Oklahoma City, Fort Worth and San Antonio. In 1948 the Katy Limited served Kansas City Fort Worth, Texas. The Katy Limited was discontinued in 1951.

Texas Special

In 1915 the Katy began operating the Texas Special from St. Louis to San Antonio via North Jefferson City, Missouri; Parsons, Kansas; McAlester, Oklahoma; Dallas, Fort Worth, and Austin, Texas. This was done to augment the existing Katy Flyer and Katy Limited trains. The Texas Special was jointly operated with the Frisco Railroad and quickly became the prestige train of both railroads. 


On January 10, 1918, the southbound Katy Flyer was operated as two sections. While the first section was stopped at the coal chute in Granger, Texas, for refueling, the second section rear-ended it, sadly killing 3 and injuring 11 passengers.

Katy Flyer Coach Car

The Union Pacific maintains a restored Flat Coach Car with public restrooms at each end of the car and coach-style seating in the remainder of the car. Total seating capacity is 44. The Katy Flyer was built by American Car and Foundry in 1953 as 44-seat coach No. 5468. It was renamed the Katy Flyer in 1993.

Source: https://www.up.com/cs/groups/public/documents/up_pdf_nativedocs/pdf_katy_flyer.pdf


Missourri - Kansas - Texas (Katy) Railroad's oldest name train: the "Katy Flyer" train No. 6 northbound, headed by Engine No. 395, a Pacific type 4-6-2 locomotive with a consist of eight standard heavyweight cars, departing from Denison, Texas enroute to St. Louis in 1949. Click to enlarge. (Plummer, Roger S. [The "Katy Flyer" departing from Denison, Texas], photograph, 1949~; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth28878/m1/1/: accessed June 14, 2023), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Museum of the American Railroad.)


Missouri - Kansas - Texas Railroad's train No. 6, "The Katy Flyer" headed by Engine No. 391, a type 4-6-2 locomotive near Garland, Texas in 1950. Click to enlarge.  (Plummer, Roger S. ["The Katy Flyer" near Garland, Texas], photograph, 1950; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth28841/m1/1/: accessed June 14, 2023), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Museum of the American Railroad.)

The Katy Flyer, the Crack Train of Texas, 1901. Click to enlarge. (Internet Archive Book Images, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons)

Postcard photo of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad's "Katy Flyer", ca. 1911. Click to enlarge. (Unico, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Postcard depiction of the Missouri Kansas and Texas Railway train "The Katy Limited", ca. 1910. Click to enlarge.

(UNICO or UN CO, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)