Located in the Heart of America, Kansas City has long been a crucial hub of transportation. In the late 1800s, rail traffic in Kansas City was gaining speed. With a bounty of natural resources and a newly erected bridge crossing the Missouri River, the need for a train depot rose.
In 1878 the Union Depot opened in what is now known as the Historic West Bottoms. At the time of its construction, the Union Depot was considered massive. Rail traffic was growing, but many believed the station to be too big.
As Kansas City’s population continued to grow — it tripled by 1903 — rail traffic kept pace, and the Union Depot was no longer seen as a sprawling train station. However, due to its location adjacent to the Missouri River, floods frequently plagued the station. After a particularly damaging flood in 1903, it became clear that not only was the continued flooding disruptive, the Union Depot was too small. A change was needed.
In 1906, rail companies came together to solve this problem by forming the Kansas City Terminal Railway (KCTR). The railways included: Alton Railroad; Atchison, Topeka and Sante Fe Railroad; Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad; Chicago Great Western Railroad; Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad; Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad; Kansas City Southern Railway; Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad; Missouri Pacific Railroad; St. Louis-San Francisco Railway; Union Pacific Railroad; Wabash Railroad.
The first step was to build a new station on higher ground. In 1911, construction began on Union Station, a massive infrastructure undertaking for the city. KCTR invested over $50 million in the station including track additions, switching towers, viaducts and bridges. Three years later, Union Station opened to the public.
Rail traffic continued to grow in Kansas City, hitting a record in 1945 due to WWII. Although passenger traffic would begin to decline over the next few decades, KCTR remained an essential piece in moving freight across the nation. In 1979, under an Interstate Commerce Commission order, KCTR acquired and oversaw the liquidation of the Rock Island Line.
Today, KCTR is the second largest rail hub in the United States. KCTR currently owns and dispatches 95 miles of track within Missouri and Kansas. Five Class I Railways (Union Pacific Railroad , BNSF, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern and Canadian Pacific) all have line haul access.
Kansas City Terminal Railway Staff
Director of Finance
Director of Safety & Administration
Director of Transportation