Kansas City Southern Railway

The Kansas City Southern Railway Company (reporting mark KCS) is an American Class I railroad. Founded in 1887, it operates in 10 midwestern and southeastern U.S. states: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. KCS hauls freight for seven major government and business sectors: agriculture and minerals, military, automotive, chemical and petroleum, energy, industrial and consumer products and intermodal.

Kansas City Southern Railway
Kansas city south lines logo.svg
Kansas City Southern Railway system map.svg
KCS system map (trackage rights in purple), including KCSM.
KSC 3999a.jpg
KCS 3999, an EMD SD70ACe
HeadquartersKansas City, Missouri
Reporting markKCS
LocaleMidwestern and Southeastern United States
Dates of operation1887; 134 years ago (1887)–present
PredecessorKansas City Suburban Belt Railroad
Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length3,400 miles (5,500 km)

KCS has the shortest north-south rail route between Kansas City, Missouri, and several key ports along the Gulf of Mexico in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.[1] The KCS, along with the Union Pacific railroad, is one of only two Class I railroads based in the United States that has not originated as the result of a merger between previously separate companies.

The company owns or contracts with intermodal facilities along its rail network in Kansas City, Mo; Jackson, Miss.; West Monroe, La.; New Orleans; Wylie, Texas; Kendleton, Texas; and Laredo, Texas.[2]

KCS operates over a railroad system consisting of 3,400 route miles that extend south to the Mexico–United States border at which point another KCS railroad, Kansas City Southern de México (KCSM), can haul freight into northeastern and central Mexico and to the Gulf of Mexico ports of Tampico, Altamira, and Veracruz, as well as to the Pacific Port of Lázaro Cárdenas, fulfilling the vision of KCS founder Arthur Edward Stilwell.[3]

Patrick J. Ottensmeyer, who serves as chairman of the KCS Board of Directors, is also president and chief executive officer of the railroad's parent company, Kansas City Southern.[4]

Corporate structureEdit

Kansas City Southern Railway is owned by Kansas City Southern (until 2002: Kansas City Southern Industries), which in turn also owns other companies like Kansas City Southern de México and the Panama Canal Railway's operator, Panama Canal Railway Company.


Arthur Stilwell, founder of KCS

Origins (1887–1900)Edit

Arthur Stilwell began construction on the first line of what would eventually become the Kansas City Southern Railway in 1887, in suburban Kansas City, Mo. Together with Edward L. Martin, Stilwell built the Kansas City Suburban Belt Railway, which was incorporated in 1887 and began operation in 1890.

In 1897, Stilwell completed the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad Company (KCP&G) with a route running north and south from Kansas City to Shreveport, Louisiana, terminating at Port Arthur, Texas. In 1900, KCP&G become The Kansas City Southern Railway Company (KCS).[5]

20th century (1900–2000)Edit

In 1962, Kansas City Southern Industries, Inc. (KCSI) was established when the company began to diversify its interests into other industries. At that time, KCS became a subsidiary of KCSI. In 2002, KCSI formally changed its name to Kansas City Southern (KCS), with KCS remaining a subsidiary.

From 1940 to 1969, the Kansas City Southern operated two primary passenger trains, the Flying Crow (Trains #15 & 16) between Kansas City and Port Arthur (discontinued on May 11, 1968) and the Southern Belle (Trains #1 & 2) between Kansas City and New Orleans (discontinued on November 2, 1969).[6] In 1995, a new Southern Belle was created as an executive train to entertain shippers and guests. It also pulls the Holiday Express train in December, making the rounds to several KCS cities and stations.[7]

21st century (2000–present)Edit

Merger attempts by Canadian Pacific and Canadian National in 2021Edit

On March 21, 2021, Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and KCS announced that CPR would purchase KCS for US$29 billion. The US Surface Transportation Board would first have to approve the purchase, which was expected to be completed by the middle of 2022. However, a competing cash and stock offer was later made by Canadian National Railway (CNR) on April 20, 2021 at $33.7 billion.[8] On May 13, 2021, KCS announced in a statement that they planned to accept the merger offer from CN, but would give CP until May 21 to come up with a higher bid.[9] On May 21, KCS and CN agreed to a merger.

CN's merger attempt was damaged by a STB ruling in August 2021 that the company's proposal to use a voting trust to assume control of KCS pending review of the merger by the board was not permissible, due to concerns about potentially reduced competition in the railroad industry.[10] KCS backed out of the merger agreement made with CN on September 12, 2021, in favor of a new $31 billion offer from CP. Though CP's offer is lower than the offer made by CN, the STB has permitted CP to use a voting trust to take control of KCS.[10]

Awards and recognitionEdit

In 2017, KCS, an American Chemistry Council (ACC) Responsible Care partner, received an Exceptional Merit designation. The ACC honored KCS for implementing energy management technology, Trip Optimizer, which improves KCS’s energy efficiency.[11]

The E. H. Harriman Award was an award formerly bestowed on railroads for rail safety. KCS had been consistently recognized for its employee safety record (in group B: line-haul railroads with between four and 15 million employee hours per year) by the E.H. Harriman Memorial Awards Institute with a Gold Award in 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007 and 2008, Bronze Award in 2003 and 2004 and a Silver Award in 2005.[12][13]

In addition, KCS annually awards its “Safe Shipper” customers for originating more than 500 bulk hazmat shipments annually without incident with KCS’s Hazmat Shipper Safety Appreciation Award.[14]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ "Kansas City Southern 2017 Annual Report" (PDF).
  2. ^ "Kansas City Southern Network Map".
  3. ^ Bryk, William (April 21, 2001). "An Eccentric Railroad Promoter's Vision of Mexico". Straus Media. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  4. ^ "Boards of Directors".
  5. ^ Group, Karl Bernard & the Rhombus. "SAGA OF KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN LINES". www.kcshs.org. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  6. ^ Kansas City Southern (July 2005). "Southern Belle". Kansas City Southern Lines. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved July 7, 2008.
  7. ^ "'Holiday Express' sets stop, to aid needy". Daily Times Leader. September 10, 2018. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  8. ^ "CN steps up with $33B offer for Kansas City Southern, besting CP's $25B bid". CBC News. April 20, 2021.
  9. ^ Black, Thomas; Porter, Kiel; Deveau, Scott (May 13, 2021). "CN Rail Is Close to $33 Billion Deal for K.C. Southern". Bloomberg. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  10. ^ a b "Kansas City Southern picks Canadian Pacific's $31 billion bid for railroad". CNBC. September 12, 2021. Retrieved September 13, 2021.
  11. ^ "ACC Announces 2017 Responsible Care® Energy Efficiency Award Winners". April 24, 2017. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  12. ^ Association of American Railroads (reprinted by Norfolk Southern Railway) (May 16, 2006). "Railroads Set Another Employee Safety Record in 2005". Archived from the original on February 13, 2007. Retrieved May 24, 2006.
  13. ^ Kansas City Southern (2008). "KCS Safety". Archived from the original on September 16, 2008. Retrieved August 4, 2008.
  14. ^ ""For the Long Haul" 2017 KCS Sustainability Report" (PDF).

External linksEdit