About Midland Railway Association
The Midland Railway operates excursion trains on the first railroad line south of the Kansas River, originally constructed in 1867 by the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston Railroad. The Leavenworth, Lawrence and Galveston Railroad Company (LL&G RR Co.), headquartered just southwest of Baldwin City in the small town of Prairie City, KS, was originally chartered in 1858 to build a railroad from Leavenworth to the south Kansas border. Construction began in late 1867 and on New Years day of 1868 track had been laid to Ottawa. Construction resumed in the spring of 1869 and reached Coffeyville, KS in 1871. Making a total distance of 143.83 miles for the railroad line.
On March 5, 1875 the LL&G RR Co. went into receivership and was sold under foreclosure. Struggling to survive, the railroad was sold October 22, 1878. In 1879 the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston Railroad Company name was changed to the Kansas City, Lawrence and Southern. The quickly growing Santa Fe Railroad took control of the stock in November of 1880, but ran it under the name of the Kansas City, Lawrence and Southern Railroad Company.
During 1880’s the highest rate of speed allowed for express passenger trains was 25 – 35 mph. The highest rate of speed allowed for mail and freight trains was 15 mph. In December of 1880 the Kansas City, Lawrence & Southern Kansas RR, Ottawa & Burlington RR, and the Kansas City & Olathe RR Companies were consolidated under the name of the Southern Kansas Railroad Company.
From the first of May in 1882, until the mid 1970’s, the line ran under the name of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company until it was abandoned from Lawrence to Baldwin City, KS.
In 1987, several investors put their money together and purchased the line from Baldwin City, KS to Ottawa, KS from the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Co, starting the Midland Railway Historical Association, a not for profit organization. The Midland Railway now offers train rides, featuring an over-20-mile round trip from Baldwin City via “Norwood, Kansas” to Ottawa Junction, Kansas, traveling through the scenic Eastern Kansas farmlands and woods via vintage railway equipment just like the original LL&G RR Co.