This abandoned railway was once the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad's mainline between Texas and Chicago (via a connection with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy at Hannibal, MO). The original line was built by the Tebo and Neosho Railroad between Clinton and Sedalia in 1870. The T&N was purchased by the MKT later that same year. Northward from Sedalia, the line to Hannibal was built in 1873.
By 1920, the MKT had moved its target from Chicago to (much closer) Saint Louis. Selling the line between Moberly and Hannibal to the Wabash (which is still active today) meant that the end of the MKT line was now in Moberly -- a dead end, and thus a victim of the MKT's abandonments in the 1970s.
The line north of New Franklin was abandoned in two segments: Fayette to Moberly was abandoned in 1975, with the rest of the line north of New Franklin gone in 1978. After MKT successfully sought trackage rights on the nearby and parallel Missouri Pacific line to Saint Louis, which provided a much faster and direct route, traffic on the now-redundant line between Clinton and Sedalia tapered off until it was abandoned by Union Pacific in 1991.
Clinton Sedalia New Franklin Fayette Moberly
1870 | |--- T&N ----|
1873 | |------------------- M-K-T ------------------|
1975 | |- abandoned -|
1978 | |-- abandoned --|
1991 | |------- abandoned ---------|
Today, the southern portion of the route between Clinton and New Franklin serves as the Missouri's Katy Trail, the longest rail-trail conservancy project in the country.