The Neosho Division
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I do not know if the line to Emporia went to Burlington? My Grandfather used to ride a Doodlebug to Emporia and Erie from the Chanute MKT depot. I will try to get you some pictures when I go back a visit. There are some old rail cars setting around and you can still see some of the line.
The line from Chanute to Burlington was part of the Neosho Division that ran about 200 miles from Parsons to Junction City. It followed the Neosho River from its head waters southeast of Junction City all the way to Parsons. It had light rail and not much traffic. It was built in the 1880's to give the Katy a connection with the old Kansas Pacific (now U.P.) mainline from K.C. to Denver at Junction City. Most of the line was abandoned in the early sixties when large Federal Reservoirs were built on the Neosho at Council Grove and Burlington. By that time there was not nearly enough traffic to justify re-routing the line around the new lakes. The Parsons to Burlington section of the line survived into the seventies but it too was finally abandoned.
Actually the 30 mile Chanute-Parsons portion survived almost until the UP takeover of the Katy. I remember seeing MKT trains running through Chanute in Summer of 86'. They finally abandoned it after a major flood in the fall of that year. Also the Chanute-Humboldt portion was abandoned in 1969 with everything else north of that abandoned in 1957.
The 1957 date sounds about right. I grew up in Dunlap, KS on that line. I remember the Doodlebug and riding the last passenger run sometime in the early 1950s (I am guessing between 1952 and 1954). Freight runs continued for another few years but there was little traffic left.
The line from Humboldt to Piqua was sold to the Missouri Pacific in the early 70's to service the cement plant in Humboldt. Once the Santa Fe line was sold to Watco to service Chanute and Humboldt, the old Katy line was abandoned along with the Piqua to the MP main east of Yates Center. South Humbolt to Chanute was abandoned in 1969. Piqua to Humboldt 9.8 miles was abandoned in 1993. Source: KDOT
Piqua to Junction City, 112.6 miles was abandoned in 1957.
Chanute to Parsons, 26.2 miles was abandoned in 1986 per KDOT site
Did diesel engines ever run on the Parsons-Junction City route or was it always steam locomotives?
The Katy steam era was over by 1952, Junk City to Piqua saw Alco RS3 and EMD GP7's during the 50's along with some other early diesels.