The mainline of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas or Katy railroad went from Omaha and Kansas City to Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston. Although it also had a branch to St. Louis, the portion from St. Louis to Oklahoma was circuitous and slow. By using Frisco’s more-direct route from St. Louis to Vinita, Oklahoma, however, Katy trains could offer the shortest, fastest path from St. Louis to major Texas cities.
To take advantage of this route, the Texas Special started using the Frisco line in 1917. After World War II, Katy and Frisco each ordered a streamlined passenger train from Pullman and two E7 locomotives from General Motors to operate overnight service from St. Louis to San Antonio. The streamlined trains were inaugurated on May 16, 1948.
The locomotives were painted a striking crimson with stainless steel panels to match the bolted-on stainless steel of the passenger cars. The hoods were yellow and the noses had a large Texas star. At the same time, Frisco ordered two more passenger trains and four more E7s, with Frisco logos instead of stars on the noses, to operate as the Meteor between St. Louis and Oklahoma City. The streamlined Meteor entered service a few days before the Texas Special.