Houston to Katy

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  • States: Texas   
  • Railroads: MKT, SP, UP   
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Interlocking Tower Point of Interest

This line was first built by the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad in 1893 as they built west into Houston. From the town of Katy (named for the railroad), the MKT headed due east to a crossing with the Houston & Texas Central Railroad at Tower 13 in northwest Houston. Just on the other side of the crossing, the MKT built their Eureka Yard.

The portion of the line between Katy, TX and Tower 13 was abandoned in 1997, after the Union Pacific Railroad merged with the Southern Pacific Railroad (then owner of the MKT). The Katy Freeway (Interstate 10) has since been widened onto the adjacent right-of-way for most of its length, completely obliterating any traces of it.

Today, Eureka Yard is still in use by Union Pacific; the tracks within Katy and to the west are still in use as well.

Interlocking Towers

Nbr Location Railroads Type Authorized Retired Map
13 Houston (Eureka) MKT, H&TC    Electrical 7/4/1903
Consolidated into Tower 26 in 1966

Very interesting; connection 1521 appears to run right where I now live.

Chuck Davidson
Houston, TX
3/6/2012

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Whoa now Former Railfan. First off, the map neglects the area to the east (converted to a bike path) that led into downtown Houston. It had several dangerous crossings and sharp turns. Secondly, Interstate 10 was extremely busy and the train caused huge backups. Any attempt to save the line west of 610 would have resulted in more business frontage lost (dozens of active businesses and homes came down regardless), and a moving of the tracks (almost certainly).

PS3D
College Station, TX
12/8/2012

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There are YouTube videos of Katy trains in action on this line before it was abandoned....

Joe Rogers
Alvarado, TX
2/24/2013

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UP did merge with the SP, but UP merged with (took over) the Katy in 1988.

I spent a summer in Houston in the late '70's and used to see MKT coming into town occasionally. They weren't real busy.

I could be wrong, but didn't MKT go to Galveston at some point?

John Totten
wxyz, CA
3/15/2014

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I too appear to live along the old rail line to the UP track which runs along 290 north west out of Houston. My neighborhood is configured with the old right-a-way running through my back yard (1734 Maux Houston Texas, 77043, for anyone interested). Does anyone know anything about this branch connection? When it was pulled, etc. I will adding some pictures soon regarding the segment. Derek

Derek Larson
Houston, TX
2/20/2015

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Can anyone confirm if any spurs ever went into the Heights area? I'm particularly interested in the 1965 to 1972 period.

Greg Bennett
Yukon, OK
3/18/2015

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Hey i live not to far from here i saw the old tracks that where along interstate 10 going west i think but now there is a new appartment complex and the rails and ties where pulled up by UP i guess but i never knew it was even a abandon trackage but thats it really cool thanks for this website

Matthew Melcher
Houston, TX
6/29/2015

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My summer research project is to follow the connection between the Katy on I-10 to the SP on Hempstead Hiway. I found the connector at Blalock and Hempstead have followed it south. Could find no traces south to Clay Road. It was difficult to access the elusive ROW as it is behind fences with some commando looking security guards! More to come.

Jimm McCulloch
Houston, TX
8/2/2015

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Regarding the last posted statement on the research project. If you are able to locate on original map of this connection (I-10 to Hempstead) please let me know and I'm very interested in your research. I live in the Royal Oaks subdivision and the line literally ran through my backyard. Derek 713-320-3344

Derek Larson
Houston, TX
8/8/2015

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Derek...No problem, I will let you know. I live in Binglewood and it went just to the west of us. Until 1993 Blalock did not even go thru to Clay due to the ROW that used to be there. I moved here in 1991 and never understood why the road stopped. I am now looking at the VFW hall on Campbell / Kempwood for traces. On Google earth you can see some trace. Will also go to the Downtown library for more information.

Jim McCulloch
Houston, TX
8/8/2015

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Even better story, I used to work at Dresser Rand from 1991 to 1993 and the tracks were still there just next to Lumpkin Road. I was told they railed in a huge V-20 compressor engine on a flat car on the then Katy in 1988. They said the tracks were so bad the engine almost tipped the flat car over. I heard that UP refused to use the spur anymore after that. Also in 1992 the grain silos that were on the spur (Westview at Lumpkin) had an accident and the (3) center silos blew up and sent pieces of concrete everywhere including the Home Depot parking lot. I understand that the home owners north of the solo threatened to sue of the silo did not close. I theorize that UP completely gave up on the spur after that. You can still see the ROW behind the HCC buildings on Lumpkin Rd.

Jim McCulloch
Houston, TX
8/8/2015

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@ Matthew: the line you probably saw was for a furniture store that closed during the recession. The tracks look like they were stripped a while back though, probably around 2008.

Aaron J.
College Station, TX, TX
1/21/2016

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I don't know about you guys, but for those looking for traces of the "connector line", it didn't exist. Yes, there was a small railroad spur that did curl around the main line and connected to a few structures off of Westview, but the rest didn't exist, as it appears to be a utility ROW. If you go back to 1944 on Google Earth where there are no structures, you can see the "line" clearly, but it doesn't connect with the SP line paralleling Hempstead Highway, it continues northeast. You can see a gap between a Sonic and Taco Bell at Tidwell and Hollister, as well as other places. On 1944 Google Earth with the modern "Roads" layer turned on you can see it goes from near Interstate 45 and West Road all the way to Clodine and Westheimer.

Aaron J.
College Station, TX
1/21/2016

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@Aaron J, I am starting to believe you are right. I found an aerial view of part of the ROW from 1974 and there are no tracks to be seen. It was the section between Hammerly and Northbrook High School. I would post a picture but I don't think you can on this forum. May have been a power line ROW after all.

Jim McCulloch
Houstom, TX
1/21/2016

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Just in case anyone else is interested...

Regarding my old question:

"Can anyone confirm if any spurs ever went into the Heights area? I'm particularly interested in the 1965 to 1972 period."

I found the answer (yes) in some cool aerial and topo maps at:

http://www.historicaerials.com/

Greg Bennett
Yukon, OK
8/13/2016

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