New Franklin to Machens
By the late 1890s, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad already had a large volume of freight and passenger traffic along its Clinton-to-Hannibal route which, thanks to a connection with the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad at Hannibal, was able to reach Chicago. However, Saint Louis, to the east, was developing into an economic and commercial center; considerably closer than Chicago, the MKT was intent on reaching Saint Louis from their existing Clinton-Hannibal line. The MKT created a new railroad entity, the Missouri, Kansas and Eastern Railroad, to accomplish this task.
Construction started at New Franklin, MO, just north of Booneville on the Clinton-Hannibal line, and stretched eastward to Machens, on the Mississippi River, by 1895. As with the route to Chicago, the MKT would gain access to Saint Louis from their terminus at Machens via a connection with the CB&Q. At the junction of both the Chicago and Saint Louis routes, New Franklin became home for the locomotive shops of the MKT.
The Saint Louis line saw considerable swings in traffic volume; the decline of the railroad and the poor condition of track construction did not help matters. Both a trackage-rights agreement on the adjacent Missouri Pacific line to Saint Louis and numerous flooding and washouts spelled the end of the MKT's Saint Louis line, and it was railbanked in 1988.
The Columbia Branch, a short branch line from this line that served the town of Columbia, was abandoned in 1978.
The entire line was donated to the State of Missouri, which now operates the Katy Trail along its length.
The above link is for the Katy Trail. Anyone interested in this line will find news articles on the saving of the Missouri River Bridge at Boonville. There are also articles on the extention of the Katy Trail from Windsor, MO to Pleasant Hill, MO on the old Rock Island Line (work has not started on this as of yet).
December 2010 The first two miles of the Katy Trail Extention was opened near Pleasant Hill. When done this portion of the trail will connect with the Katy at Windsor. The first two miles were built on existing road bed, contrary to reports that it would have to be built along the existing road bed. The rest of the extention could now be built on the old road bed instead of alongside. The last train to run the line was KCT directed service in 1980.
COORECTION-The MKT main line did not end at New Machens with a connection with the Wabash but rather the CB&Q.
Correction...In the 2nd pic..turntable remains....tracks to the right go to Boonville and on to Sedalia...Tracks to the left went to Moberly.
The line didn't stop at Franklin but extended west and south through Pilot Grove, Sedalia, and some other communities all the way to Clinton. New Franklin and Boonville both have a Katy caboose on display. Windsor has the bicentennial caboose #76 at the Katy Trail "head" and Clinton has another green Katy caboose on display near its access point for the trail.
As late as 1993 or 94, some track was still in place from Clinton to a MFA facility between Calhoun and Clinton. There was even a UP caboose parked there for a time, just before the red metal "end of track" sign. The track was taken up before 1996 but I don't remember when. No, I never got any pictures in those days and I've regretted it for 20 years!