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3 of a Kind on the Katy

January 19, 2010

By the time the MKT was acquired by the UP in 1988, the Katy operated unit trains hauling a diverse group of commodities: coal, grain, and aggregate. But 1975 was a different story.  Powder River basin coal hadn’t begun flowing into the Katy’s service area and the construction boom in Texas wouldn’t begin until the early 1980’s.

Grain, however, was another story. The Katy’s Kansas City to Houston main line was ideally suited to move solid trains of Midwest grain to the export terminals at the Ports of Houston and Galveston.

MKT 181 at Fort Worth, Texas on Aug. 3, 1975

It’s a scorching hot August 3, 1975 in Fort Worth.  Three matched GP40’s,  led by the 181,  patiently wait for their turn to proceed through the Tower 55 interlocking. The outbound crew here will take the train to Bellmead (Waco, TX).  By this date, it was uncommon to catch a matched set of 3 units in the handsome Barriger red as the Katy had begun re-painting its locomotives  into the “John Deere” yellow and green scheme 4 years prior.

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