For roughly the first half of the 20th century the KCS prospered, earning
considerable profits on a railroad system that was less than 1,000
total miles in length. However, beginning in the late 1950s the
railroad would once again go through a period of hard times, much like
its early days. Things got so bad by the early 1970s (mostly a result
of deferred maintenance) that derailments became commonplace across the
entire system. If it were not for record volumes of traffic continuing
to pour over the KCS during this time the railroad could have faced a
serious problem, similar to its northern neighbor, the Rock Island.
While the KCS was never a big player in the passenger rail
market like several other roads, it did have a few notable trains such
as its Southern Belle streamlined train which operated between
Kansas City and New Orleans. Adorned in an eye-catching Brunswick Green
(which appears almost black), yellow, and red the train operated
between 1940 and 1968 until hard times and a weakening passenger market
forced the train’s cancellation. In any event, with plenty of traffic
to keep the railroad stable it began to pull out of the mess it was in
during the latter half of the 1970s, and by the 1980s it was once again earning healthy profits and running efficient operations (a result of physical plant upgrades and better train blocking and scheduling).
|These F-unit covered wagons remained in regular service on the KCS until the 1980s. Seen here are no fewer than six units powering a long train of empty hoppers heading westbound near Sulphur Springs, Texas during December of 1981.|
In the last decade the railroad has grown, and quite substantially,
for the first time since its early years. In the 1990s it acquired two
railroads, the Gateway Western Railway and Mid-South Rail Corporation.
The former gave the Kansas City Southern access into St. Louis and
Springfield, Illinois and the latter into Mississippi. Also, in recent
years the KCS was able to gain complete control of two railroads south
of the border, the Texas Mexican Railway and Grupo Transportación
Ferroviaria Mexicana (TFM), putting the KCS solidly
into Mexico and giving it access to many of the country’s largest
|In the mid-2000s the KCS brought back its classic Southern Belle livery, as seen here on two of its newer units, an ES44AC and SD70ACe as they lead a manifest freight (with another SD70ACe) through Lanagan, Missouri on the evening of September 18, 2009.|
While the KCS itself is only about 3,100 miles in length its
acquisition of Tex Mex and TFM (now known as Kansas City Southern de
Mexico) added about 2,800 miles to its overall system, giving it a
railroad of nearly 6,000 miles. Still, this mileage pales in comparison
to the other six North American Class Is which rank as follows:
Union Pacific Railroad - 32,000 miles (5,000 of which are trackage rights.)
BNSF Railway - 32,000 miles (8,000 of which are trackage rights.)
CSX Transportation - 22,000 miles
Norfolk Southern Railway - 21,000 miles
Canadian National Railway - 19,200 route miles
Canadian Pacific Railway - 13,600 route miles
Please Click Here To Return To The Class I's Page
Diesel Locomotive Roster
Electro-Motive Corporation/Electro-Motive Division
|F3A||30A-31A, 50A-59A, 50D-58D||1947-1948||21|
|F3B||30B-31B, 50B-58B, 50C-58C||1947-1948||20|
|F7A||32A-33A, 59D, 70A-76A, 72D-76D||1949-1950||15|
|F7B||32B-33B, 70B-79B, 72C-78C||1949-1950||17|
|F9A||32A, 58D, 74D||1955-1956||3|
|SD70ACe||4000-4059 (Latest Numbering), 4100-4129||2005-2008||90|
|An odd collection power including two covered wagon B units and two more SW1500s (up front is #4340), lead a freight along the Lake Charles Branch near Mossville, Louisiana during November of 1976.|
|The KCS wasn't really known for its steam power although it did roster some large designs such as 2-10-2s and even articulateds. Here is Class H 4-6-2 #804 mingling with Rock Island power at Kansas City during May of 1928.|
Steam Locomotive Roster
|K, K-1, K-21||Switcher||0-8-0|
|L, L-1||Santa Fe||2-10-2|
|Another KCS Class H Pacific, #807, rolls through the yard in Kansas City during July of 1931. In total the railroad only owned eleven of these fairly common steamers (most lines used them in passenger service).|
Notable Passenger Trains
Flying Crow: (Kansas City - New Orleans/Port Arthur)
Shreveporter: (Hope - Shreveport)
|The KCS came to dislike this all-white livery since it could never be kept clean. A trio of Geeps (with GP40 #771 up front) and F7A #4060 lead a northbound freight through DeQuincy, Louisiana during December of 1985.|
Its logo virtually unchanged throughout its life, with its recent
acquisitions the railroad looks poised to continue to remain successful
throughout the coming years (perhaps as they sometimes say, change is
not always a good thing!). While the railroad has had a number of
different paint schemes over the
years ranging from whites, reds, blacks, and grays recently the
railroad decided to switch its locomotives back into the it’s classic
Brunswick Green, yellow, and red (in recent years locomotives have been
adorned in a simpler all-gray with red and yellow trim).
Related Reading You May Enjoy
Other Classic Railroads Of The Midwest
Burlington, "Way Of The Zephyrs"
CA&E, "The Roarin' Elgin"
C&NW, "Route Of The '400'"
Rock Island, "Route Of The Rockets"
D&M, "The Turtle Line"
DT&I, "We Have The Connections"
GB&W, "The Green Bay Route"
IC, "The Main Line Of Mid-America"
IT, "The Road Of Personalized Services"
IHB, "Connects With All Chicago Railroads"
CMStP&P, "Route Of The Hiawathas"
Monon, "The Hoosier Line"
Nickel Plate, "High Speed Service"
"Ship Soo To And Through The Upper Midwest"
St. Louis Southwestern
MN&S, "The Dan Patch Line"
M&StL, "The Peoria Gateway"
The Missabe Road
MoPac, "Route Of The Eagles"
CGW, "The Corn Belt Route"
DW&P, "Delivered With Pride"
BRC, "The Belt"
EJ&E, "Chicago Outer Belt"
Lake Superior & Ishpeming
Wabash, "Follow The Flag"
Santa Fe..."All The Way!"
St. Louis-San Francisco Railway