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MKT Railroad History Along the Katy Trail

The Katy Trail is the old route of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas rail line (M-K-T, or "Katy" for short). It has been decades since MKT trains ran along the route that's now the Katy Trail. But you can still experience railroad history all along the trail, through several preserved train cars, depots restored to their original splendor, and other vestiges of the railroading past that can be found along the trail.

Restored Train Depots / Stations

Sedalia Depot
Sedalia Depot

Old Train Cars

  • St Charles Frontier Park has both an MKT car and a Wabash car
  • The Frenchtown Heritage Museum in St Charles has a caboose from the Santa Fe line, which was originally built by the American Car & Foundry Co. in 1928.   The museum is currently researching restoration options, but visitors can visit the caboose at any time, even when the museum is closed.& It's parked behind the museum at Bayard and 2nd Street.
  • Washington, which is 4 miles south of Dutzow, has a caboose next to the Amtrak station on the riverfront
  • Marthasville - right next to highway 47
  • Boonville (photo below)
  • New Franklin - Old abandoned car
  • Windsor trailhead "Bicentennial Car"
  • Clinton trailhead
Boonville train car

Other relics of M-K-T history

MKT logo on bluff
MKT Logo on Bluff     Photo by: Jim & Laurie Allshouse

Ride the Train!

Combine your Katy trip with a train ride!  It's not the M-K-T, but Amtrak stops at several towns near the Katy Trail.  Many cyclists and hikers travel one direction on the trail and then use the train to get back where they started.  Here's where Amtrak stations are located, along with their corresponding Katy Trail trailheads in parentheses: Note that the Missouri River bridge between Washington-Marthasville is not wide enough to accommodate bikes or pedestrians, so you may need to arrange a shuttle or escort across this bridge.  Some of the B&Bs there will send a shuttle van to the trailhead for their guests.  A replacement bridge is in thew works.

For cyclists who don't mind street riding, the Kirkwood Amtrak station in St Louis County provides access to the eastern end of the trail in St Charles.  It's approximately 20 miles from the Kirkwood station to the Katy Trail; here's a discussion of how to get from the Kirkwood Amtrak station to the Katy Trail by bike.

See the Katy Trail Amtrak guide for a detailed discussion of riding Amtrak along the Katy Trail.

More Railroad History along the Katy Trail

There's a Railroad Heritage Museum in the Sedalia Depot.

Most trailheads along the western part of the Katy Trail are designed like depot seating areas, with extensive historical information on the "bulletin boards."

The Foundry Art Centre in St Charles was once part of the American Car & Foundry Co. train car factory.

In addition to a Santa Fe caboose manufactured at the American Car & Foundry Co., the Frenchtown Heritage Museum in St Charles has a model train display/layout, including a train wreck, depicting Frenchtown around 1900.

You'll also find that some businesses along the trail use a railroad theme, often with interesting artifacts from the railroad.

You will cross many old iron bridges along the Katy Trail, which obviously were built for the railroad.  A few have been replaced with wooden bridges for the much lighter load of trail users.

Why does the trail start at mile 26, rather than mile 0?  Because the trail mile marker system uses the old railroad mileage, and Machens was at mile 26 on the railroad route.

If we forgot to list anything on this page, please let us know.