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Katy Northwest: The Story of a Branch Line Railroad
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Katy Northwest: The Story of a Branch Line Railroad (Hardback)

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Synopsis

"Katy Northwest" was the first, and finest in-depth study of a branch-line railroad. Originating as the Wichita Falls and Northwestern and later combining the Beaver, Meade and Englewood, under Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad's ownership, Katy's Northwestern system radiated north from Wichita Falls, Texas into the Oklahoma Panhandle like blood vessels in the country's agricultural muscle.As work-horse branch lines their primary function was to haul the agricultural commerce, particularly the wheat of north Texas and western Oklahoma. During its peak, part of the line was also flush with the short-lived traffic of an oil boom. And for a time, liquid petroleum gas also produced traffic, but like the oil, it eventually dried up. When agricultural traffic became increasingly more seasonal, that compounded the financial difficulties which had plagued Katy throughout most of the twentieth century. The state and federally subsidized highway system siphoned off more and more of the tonnage that was available.Decline in revenue meant the lines began to deteriorate.

By 1965 emergency crews were patching the worst parts of the line so that the trains could at least maintain a mere 15 miles per hour. By 1973 the track was so bad that even the final clean-up train derailed minutes after the final train crew group portrait was made. 'As a case study, "Katy Northwest" will be of interest to scholars who are concerned with the economic, social, and political ramifications involved in the current and future status of all light traffic railroad branch lines. It will likewise appeal to readers who have a particular interest in the history of the Great Plains. Additionally, this volume will be warmly received by rail buffs and by loyal friends of the Katy'.From the Foreword by John W. Barriger, Special Assistant, Federal Railroad Administration, and former president of the Katy. But, this is hardly a book of just facts and figures. Don Hofsommer's eye for detail also discovers those nuggets prized by the Katy's many fans. Here, for instance, we see the 'gas-electric' car (M-10) that became a humble passenger car (T-100), then found itself further demoted to a grain depot in Gould Oklahoma. "Katy Northwest" is an example of the finest historical writing.

Full of real information, but directed toward important conclusions. Here we meet the people who made the trains run, as well as the people the trains served. Sometimes we tend to forget that big decisions have a real impact on real people. Don Hofsommer brings these people to life on the page and reminds us that the transportation decisions we make have profound consequences.

History & PoliticsHistory: specific events & topicsSocial & cultural historyTransportTrains & railways: general interest Publisher: Indiana University Press Publication Date: 22/10/1999 ISBN-13: 9780253336361  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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Donovan L. Hofsommer, President of the prestigious Lexington Group, was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Northern Iowa, and his Ph. D. from Oklahoma State University. He currently teaches history at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.

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