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Kansas Pacific Railway


Federally chartered railroad, connecting Kansas City with Denver.[1]


Began as the Leavenworth, Pawnee and Western Railroad, chartered in 1855 and organized on January 5, 1857, to connect Leavenworth with Fort Riley, Kansas. Federal legislation for construction was enacted on July 1, 1862. On May 28, 1863, the railroad was reorganized as the Union Pacific, Eastern Division to create a second, more southerly branch of the transcontinental railroad to parallel the Union Pacific Railroad, with its eastern terminus in Kansas City.[2]


Construction began in Kansas City in September of 1863 and reached Junction City, just south of Fort Riley, on November 10, 1866.[1]


In August of 1867, the Brasada Spur connected to the line at Junction City.[3]


In 1868, Congress instituted a second phase of construction westward to the Rocky Mountains, intending to eventually extend the line to the Pacific to compete with the Union Pacific. On March 3, 1869, an Act of Congress changed the name of the railroad to the Kansas Pacific Railway. Construction began towards Denver in October of 1869 and reached Kit Carson, Colorado Territory, in March of 1870 while the company began building eastward from Denver simultaneously. The two branches met at Strasburg, Colorado Territory that August, completing the line from Kansas City to Denver. With the completion of the Denver Pacific Railway between Denver and Cheyenne two months earlier, Kansas City was then connected to the Union Pacific to the north, and on to the Pacific.[1]


Brasada Spur: In August of 1872, Bart Maverick traveled eastward from Denver on the Kansas Pacific Railway to Junction City, Kansas, and from there southward to King City on the Brasada Spur. In September, he traveled again on the Kansas Pacific from Junction City to Kansas City on his round trip between Kansas City and Chicago.[3]


In 1874, the Kansas Pacific was consolidated with the Union Pacific Railroad, and took on the latter’s name.[1]


01. Kansas West: An Epic of Western Railroading (1963); George LaVerne Anderson; Golden West Books

02. Thomas Ewing, Jr. and the Origins of the Kansas Pacific Railway Company; Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains (Summer 1976; Vol. 42, No. 2); David G. Taylor

03. The Conjectural Maverick, Maverick Trails

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