Bryson, MO to Paola, KS

Point of Interest

Map submitted by Dr. R. Zane Price.

GOOGLE MAPS no longer available: With apologies, I am unable to continue showing Google Maps. Google has forced my hand by increasing their map usage fee from nothing/free to OVER $300 A MONTH for the Abandoned Rails website! This is an expense that I simply cannot afford. Rest assured I am looking at available open source alternatives, so maps should be back online soon!

Greg Harrison

(Forwarded from the Neosho Valley & Holden Railroad)

The Osage Division of the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas (MK&T or Katy) Railroad began as a railroad known as the St. Louis and Santa Fe Railroad, Missouri Division which was incorporated on April 20th, 1869. Completed in 1871, the railroad was a single-track, standard gauge steam railroad that ran approximately 38 miles from Holden, Missouri (In Johnson County) to the Missouri/Kansas state line. As St. Louis and Santa Fe Railroad, Missouri Division quickly went bankrupt; the Katy Railroad officially completed purchased the charter on May 29th, 1872. Towns along this portion of the line included (from east to west):

  • Holden (Johnson County)
  • Benton (Benton City, McClurg P.O., Fenwick) [ghost town, Johnson County]
  • Gunn City (Cass County)
  • East Lynne (Cass County)
  • Harrisonville (Cass County)
  • Freeman (Cass County)
  • West Line (State Line) [Cass County]

However, involvement may have dated back to 1870 (at the inception of the line) when Levi Parson and Francis Skiddy set into motion their plan to see the Katy Railroad would be the first to reach Indian Territory and the only allowed to tap the riches of Texas and the Southwest. To this end, Parson and Skiddy set into motion a much larger plan that included the chartering of the Neosho Valley and Holden Railroad in Kansas. The charter for the Neosho Valley and Holden Railroad in Kansas was issued on May 7th, 1870. On the same day, the Neosho Valley and Holden Railroad entered into an agreement allowing for the merger and consolidation of the company with the Katy Railroad. The Neosho Valley and Holden Railway Company was effectively a paper railroad and did not construct any railroad. The original plan of the Neosho Valley and Holden Railroad was to connect in the east with the St. Louis and Santa Fe Railroad, Missouri Division and continue west To Emporia. However, the rail line never reached Emporia; it only reached Paola, Kansas (where it connected with the Missouri Pacific Railroad). This created an orphan line with no connection to the main lines at either Emporia, Kansas or Sedalia, Missouri. Towns along the completed portion included:

  • Louisburg (Miami County)
  • Somerset (ghost town, Miami County)
  • Paola (Paola Junction) [Miami County]

On February 16th, 1880, the entire 54 miles Osage Division was leased to Jay Gould's Missouri Pacific Railroad as a part of the two railroads' good neighbor policy. During this period, the rail line was known as the St. Louis, Kansas and Arizona Division of the Missouri Pacific Railroad. However, this arrangement would not last and in 1895, construction began to tie the orphaned line into the main Katy Railroad line, southwest of Sedalia at a point called Bryson (Rodelia, Kansas City Junction) [ghost town Pettis County]. Towns founded along the new portion of the Osage Division of the Katy included (from east to west):

  • Sutherland (ghost town, Johnson County)
  • Leeton (Johnson County)
  • Post Oak (ghost town, Johnson County)
  • Chilhowee (Johnson County)
  • Magnolia (ghost town, Johnson County)

However, the connection to the mainline of the Katy did not ensure survival and the Osage Division (also known as the Holden & Paola line and possibly the Holden Division) closed in 1958. Today, the site of Bryson is marked by a sign on the Katy Trail with no mention of the Osage Division's existence. This portion of the Katy Railroad is not a part of the Katy Trail system in Missouri and was returned to the local residents, most of the railbird has been destroyed.

Thanks to Dr. R. Zane Price for contributing information about this route.

Do these railroads still exist ?

I would like to purchase all of them.

Johnny Santiago
Trenton,NJ, NJ


I can remember in late 60s to early 70s at bryson Katy using east end for either passing siding or parking?I was 8 when lived there

darrell himes
pierce city, MO


I need to purchase rail scrap do you know of any sellers

Johnny Santiago
Trenton, NJ


I've done some exploring along the former right-of-way mainly from Harrisonville East to Paola. Lots of interesting ruins left if you know where to find them.

Howard Kelsey
Gladstone, MO


As a kid the rail bed was still very visible and we walked it quite a bit. The telegraph poles were still there and the wires up. Traces of it can still be seen in Miami County from Louisburg west to Somerset. Howard I would like to know more about what is left if you could comment. JB



Johnny, I will sell you some rail. Mr. Hard and I need to do some weed stompin' track finding here in the future...

Lone Jack, MO


I'm just asking...But can you sell rails? Really? What do they go for? Their steel/iron. I'm just asking.

Paul Gronemeir
Albuquerque, NM



In the past I have contracted pulling salvage/abandoned rail, and I am in the process of obtaining new contracts, and will be able to sell lengths of rail...85 to 90# rail.


gary Hilton
lone jack, MO


My Grandfather Grew up in Westline beside the Osage Division. The gradient is somewhat visible in the area and the "Four Bridges over Pony Creek" west of town are still discernable: even the abutments are long gone but if you know where to look (or have a guide who does: like my grandfather!) you can find them. According to Grandpa the fourth trestle had a nice swimming hole on the downstream side of it.

Sawyer Regensberg
Kansas City, MO


my grandfather was section forman for the westline to freeman section most of road bed still visible easy to find but grown in brush not much left.still get out and walk them from time to time

william fort
westline, MO


The first pin point on this is incorrect, the line did not cross at grade, rather the Rock Island crossed over it on the Lost East Creek/KATY bridge.

Mr. Kelly McClanahan
Kansas City, MO


Shortened Link:

Do you have any pictures or information about Bryson, MO to Paola, KS? Please . You will get credit for anything you contribute.