This nice key from the Kansas City Terminal rail operation dates from probably the 1930s-1940s. On one side it is stamped KCT in tall block letters. On the other side is stamped serial number 1541 and its maker name ADLAKE. Condition is excellent, good color with just enough wear to dull the bit edges and end of the barrel. We can find no issues. It displays very well and would be right at home in any good collection especially with a grouping of terminal keys.
BACKGROUND: The Kansas City Terminal Railway was created after a series of floods in 1903, 1904, and 1908 inundated the West Bottoms each time and temporarily closed the Union Depot there. Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri and also serving Kansas City, Kansas, the KCT is still in existence as a Class III terminal railroad. It serves as a joint operation of the trunk railroads that serve the Kansas City metropolitan area, the United States' second largest rail hub. At present, it is operated by the Kaw River Railroad.
In the beginning, twelve original railroads joined forces to build a new Union Station, coordinate the switches and bridges that served the city and work together to help eliminate duplicative services. Those railroads were the Alton Railroad, Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, the Chicago Great Western Railway, the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad, the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, the Kansas City Southern Railway, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, the Missouri Pacific Railroad, the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway, the Union Pacific Railroad and the Wabash Railroad.
Under an Interstate Commerce Commission order, the railway operated and then oversaw the liquidation of the Rock Island Line from 1979 to 1980. The railway now owns and dispatches 85 miles of track (25 in Kansas and 60 in Missouri) and leases six locomotives and no freight cars. It no longer owns Union Station, and subcontracts its maintenance to the Burlington Northern San Francisco Railroad.
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