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From Cattle to Cars: Kansas City’s Transportation Hub

"The Kansas City stockyards in their glory days - unless you were a cow. Today, antique stores have crowded in." (Missouri Farmer Today photo)

Kansas City, Missouri (not the one in Kansas) was once a famous stopover for shipping cattle back east, and its huge West Bottoms feedlots offered visitors quite a sight—and smell. Today, there are antique stores there. But Kansas City remains a great intermodal town, a place where five railroads have hubs, where there are air freight operations and straight highway shots from the geographic center of the country to, well, the rest of the planet.

Kansas City is home today to two major auto plants. The Ford assembly plant is in Claycomo (a/k/a Clay County, Missouri), which makes the bestselling vehicle in America, the all-aluminum F-150 pickup, plus the Transit van. And General Motors’ Fairfax Assembly on the Kansas side, is where the Buick LaCrosse is produced and the all-new Chevy Malibu, which is being supported with a new $174 investment from GM, is fast approaching. It was great to see energy-efficient trains moving cars out of the city—80 percent of the Transits reach new markets that way, Ford said. The rail cars actually had to be modified to accommodate the tall roofs on some of the vans.

[Car Talk]