Kansas City (Sheffield) to Galesburg (Cameron)

At Sheffield (Signal Bridge 20) (MP 446.4), the BNSF (former ATSF) line to Chicago (with Amtrak trains 3 and 4) separates from the KCT line, on the south side, onto a single-track, CTC, flyover that carries it eastward from this point, across the junctions to come (see KCT description for details). From Rock Creek Junction (MP 0.2), the KCT line has a connection east-northeast to the former ATSF line coming off the flyover at Congo (MP 444.2), where there are are crossovers. The main line continues east-northeast as Two Main Tracks, CTC, with a speed limit of 70-65 past Sugar Creek (MP 442.6), where the line turns northeast along the south bank of the Missouri River, and there is a spur south-southwest into a now-closed refinery. There is a grade crossing, a signal bridge overhead  at Cement City (MP 440.8), a Missouri Portland Cement plant  where there is a spur on the north side and a pipeline bridge overhead, and the line turns east, past two sets of freeway bridges overhead just west of Courtney (MP 439.4), where the speed limit is 79-70, northeast and then north-northeast past crossovers at Eaton Junction (MP 436.5), where the UP (ex-MP) River sub. line leaves to the east and then south and the main line leaves the river.

East of the Kansas City urban area, the train traverses the Missouri farming country, often with trees bordering the line, heading east-northeast past two grade crossings, spurs on the north side (facing both ways), a grade crossing, Intermediate Signals at Atherton (MP 434.0), Intermediate Signals, a grade crossing and detectors at MP 432.0, and a through truss bridge over a stream, east, and south-southeast along the Missouri River again, with bluffs on the south side of the line, past MP 428, where a 0.5% grade up to the bridge starts, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), extra track on the north side, a road bridge overhead, and a spur on the south side, to the signal bridge at West Sibley (MP 426.3), where the line reduces to single track CTC (and a line continues on the north side into the power plant), the speed limit falls to 30 mph, and the line turns northeast, past a grade crossing into the power plant and a "wide" detector also at MP 426.3, to the through truss bridge crossing the Missouri River at Sibley, past a "wide" detector at MP 425.2, and Bridge (MP 425.0), on a viaduct above the floodplain on the north side of the river, and turns east on an embankment at East Sibley (MP 424.9), where Two Main Tracks resume, with a signal bridge over both tracks, and the speed limit rises to 90-70 with Automatic Train Stop as far as CA Junction, past a grade crossing, a signal bridge at Floyd (MP 421.7), a grade crossing, a spur to industry on the north side, rail-served grain silos on the north and south sides, a grade crossing, a dirt road grade crossing, detectors at MP 420.7, a grade crossing, Intermediate Signals (a signal bridge with four signals, two facing each way, for 2MT, bi-directional) just east of the detectors, and a through-truss bridge above the former Wabash (later Norfolk & Western, now Norfolk Southern) line from Kansas City before turning east-southeast, over a grade crossing and along the north side of that line to CA Junction (MP 418.2), where the speed limit is 55 mph through the junctions and there are 40 mph crossovers in all directions.

The next stretch of the line has three shared tracks, two of them belonging to the former Santa Fe main, and the third, on the south side and separated by a short distance from the others, that former Wabash (then Norfolk & Western, now Norfolk Southern) line to Kansas City. Where the three tracks are adjacent, they are operated as a single railroad dispatched by a single Dispatcher. The two BNSF tracks are operated as Double Track, Automatic Block Signals, and the NS track as CTC, with the whole forming Three Main Tracks, dispatched by BNSF, heading east-northeast. The speed limit is 79-70, there is a spur on the north side at Camden (MP 417.0), west-facing Intermediate Signals (searchlights), a grade crossing, a bridge over a stream, a grade crossing, east-facing Intermediate Signals, a bridge over drainage, a detector on the NS track at MP 415.4, three grade crossings, the last of them ungated, west-facing Intermediate Signals, a bridge over a stream, Henrietta (MP 411.3), a spur on the north side, a road bridge overhead, extra track on the north side serving a lineside industry, extra track on the south side, west-facing Intermediate Signals, a bridge over a stream, two dirt road grade crossings, east-facing Intermediate Signals, and detectors on the BNSF tracks at MP 407.5.

There is a grade crossing, west-facing Intermediate Signals, a dirt-road grade crossing, east-facing Intermediate Signals, and two grade crossings, there is a through truss bridge over a river, a dirt road grade crossing, the NS track trails in on the south side and there are 30 mph crossovers at which the 3MT reduce to 2MT, CTC, at Hardin (MP 405.4), where there is a spur on the north side. There are two grade crossings and a road bridge overhead, the tracks separate, and there is a dirt road grade crossing and Intermediate Signals on the north track, a detector on the southerly track at MP 401.9, two dirt road grade crossings on the north track, and the line passes Intermediate Signals on the north track at Norborne (MP 396.6), a bridge over a stream, a grade crossing, Intermediate Signals, a grade crossing, silos on the north side of the south track and a spur at silos on the north side of the north track in the town of Narbonne (east of the signals of that name), a dirt road grade crossing, Intermediate Signals, three grade crossings, Intermediate Signals, and four more grade crossings, before the shared track arrangement ends with the crossovers and a grade crossing between crossovers at WB Junction (MP 388.7), where the NS line diverges on the south side and then turns southeast, while the 2MT, CTC, BNSF line turns northeast, with ATS and thus speed limits of 90-70 resuming.

There is a dirt road grade crossing, a through truss bridge over a stream, signal bridges surrounding crossovers at Carrollton (MP 386.4), where there was once a flat crossing with a Burlington branch south from that company's line further north to the Wabash line at its Carrollton location, a grade crossing, silos on the south side of the line, spurs on both sides, freeway bridges overhead (US 24), a highway bridge overhead (also US 24), a grade crossing, a bridge over a stream, a spur to industry on the south side, a dirt road grade crossing, a bridge over a stream, a grade crossing, detectors at MP 382.2, a dirt road grade crossing, Intermediate Signals (four separate poles with searchlight signals), Intermediate Signals on a signal bridge, a bridge over a stream, a road bridge overhead, a stretch of line with the tracks at slightly different heights, Intermediate Signals (4 poles with searchlight signals), a road bridge overhead, crossovers at Bosworth (MP 374.3) with cantilever signal bridges and a  grade crossing in between the crossovers, detectors (including a "wide") at MP 373.0, a bridge over a stream, a grade crossing, Intermediate Signals, a spur on the north side west of the signal bridges and crossovers at Dean Lake, and a spur on the south side, east of the crossovers.

The line continues past a dirt road grade crossing, a through truss bridge over the Grand River, a through truss bridge over drainage (which was washed away in the 1993 Mississippi Basin flooding), three grade crossing, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge),  detectors at MP 366.5, a bridge over a former Wabash branch near Whitham, a grade crossing, a through truss bridge over a stream, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a bridge over drainage, two grade crossing, a bridge over drainage, signal bridges around the crossovers at Mendon (MP 360.7), a grade crossing, spurs to silos on the south side, an ungated grade crossing, a dirt road grade crossing, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a dirt road grade crossing, a road bridge overhead, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), two bridges over drainage, a grade crossing, a bridge over drainage, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a grade crossing, a bridge over drainage, a grade crossing, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge) at Rothville (MP 354.6), a dirt road grade crossing, a grade crossing, signal bridges surrounding the crossovers and grade crossing at West Marceline (MP 349.3), where an extra track in the center starts, there is a street on the north side, and the speed limit falls to 60-55. The tracks separate, passing over a grade crossing, to pass on either side of the former yard and locomotive facilities (a coaling tower still exists), under a road bridge, coming back together again as the center tack ends, past a grade crossing and a spur on the north side at Marceline (MP 347.3), Walt Disney's boyhood home town, where there is a freight depot and a brick passenger depot on the north side of the tracks, but no current passenger stop. There are three grade crossings, a signal bridge, crossovers at East Marceline (MP 346.9), where the 90-70 speed limit resumes, and three separate signals (two on the north side) at the east end of the crossovers.

There is a bridge over a stream, a bridge over a road, two grade crossing, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a dirt road grade crossing, detectors at MP 344.5, a bridge over drainage, a road bridge overhead, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a dirt road grade crossing, a grade crossing, extra track on the north side, two grade crossings, the start of a downhill segment, a grade crossing, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a grade crossing known as "dead man's crossing", Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a bridge over the former Burlington line between Kansas City and Galesburg via Quincy, Bucklin (MP 341.5, north track only), where a north quadrant connector from the Burlington line trails in, a turn east-southeast and then northeast again, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge) at Hart, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a turn east-northeast (50 mph on the turn) on a curvy section (55 mph curves), past a road bridge overhead, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a road bridge overhead, a grade crossing, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a road bridge overhead, a signal bridge, a crossover at West Ethel (MP 330.9), a spur on the north side, and a cantilever signal bridge, a grade crossing, a spur on the north side, a grade crossing, a cantilever signal bridge, the crossover  at East Ethel (MP 329.3), and a signal bridge.

The line resumes the northeasterly heading, past two grade crossings, a bridge over a culvert, a bridge over drainage, two dirt road grade crossings, detectors at MP 326.4, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a dirt road grade crossing, a bridge over drainage, two dirt road grade crossings, bridge over drainage, a dirt road grade crossing, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge) at Elmer (MP 322.9), where a Burlington branch once headed north, a through truss bridge over a river, a spur to silos on the north side, and a spur on the south side. This section of line is the ruling gradient between Fort Madison and Kansas City. There is a bridge over a stream, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), embankments and cuts to smooth the grade, a road bridge overhead, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge) at Cardy, where the line turns east-northeast, a grade crossing, two dirt road grade crossing, a grade crossing, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), two grade crossings, and a dirt road grade crossing. The speed limit falls to 85-70 past the signal bridge, crossovers, and signal bridge at La Plata (MP 312.7), where there is a spur to industry on the north side, a spur on the south side, an Amtrak stop at a concrete block depot on the north side, a grade crossing just east of the depot, a bridge on which a closed Wabash line once crossed overhead, and a road bridge overhead, and returns to 90-70 thereafter, as the line turns northeast again.

There is a road bridge overhead (many of these are small wooden bridges with sloped sides and a level section in the center, crossing the line depressed into a cutting), a small lake on the south side, a grade crossing, a dirt road grade crossing, a grade crossing, an Absolute/Hold Signal (signal bridge), a road bridge overhead, two dirt road grade crossings, a road bridge overhead, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a dirt road grade crossing, a road bridge overhead, detectors at Gibbs (MP 306.4), a road bridge overhead, west-facing Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), east-facing Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a bridge over a stream, a dirt road grade crossing,  Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a bridge over a road, a road bridge overhead, a dirt road grade crossing, a bridge over drainage, and a dirt road grade crossing.

A BN line once bridged overhead just before the spur on the north side at Hurdland (MP 300.0), followed by a spur on the south side,  a segment north-northeast to Intermediate Signals (signal bridge) at Kenwood, where the line turns northeast again, a grade crossing, a bridge over drainage, a dirt road grade crossing, a bridge over a stream,  Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a dirt road grade crossing, a bridge over a stream, west-facing  Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), east-facing  Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a road bridge overhead, a dirt road grade crossing, a bridge over a river, a signal bridge, crossover, and cantilever signal bridge at West Baring (MP 292.0, elevation 700 ft.), a spur on the south side, a road bridge overhead, a spur on the north side, two grade crossings, a cantilever signal bridge, crossover and signal bridge at East Baring (MP 290.0), the crest of 0.8% grades from each side, a grade crossing,  Intermediate Signals (signal bridge) at Motter, a grade crossing, a bridge overhead,  west-facing Intermediate Signals (signal bridge) at Fabius, east-facing Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a road bridge overhead, two grade crossings, a road bridge overhead, and  Intermediate Signals (signal bridge) and a spur on the north side at Rutledge (MP 282.4)

There are detectors at MP 282.3, for which the speed limit momentarily becomes 85-70 before resuming 90-70, a grade crossing, two bridges over streams,  Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a bridge over a highway, a dirt road grade crossing, a bridge over drainage, a grade crossing, a signal bridge, crossovers and a signal bridge at Gorin (MP 278.8), where the line turns east-northeast, a bridge over drainage, a grade crossing, a road bridge overhead,  Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), three grade crossings, a spur to a silo on the south side, a grade crossing, a spur on the north side, and  Intermediate Signals (signal bridge) at Wyaconda (MP 272.3), a road bridge overhead, a grade crossing, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge) at Camp, a dirt road grade crossing, a bridge over a stream, a dirt road grade crossing, a bridge over a stream,  Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a road bridge overhead, two dirt road grade crossings, a cantilever signal bridge plus a free-standing signal, crossover, and free-standing signal plus cantilever signal bridge at West Medill (MP 264.8), two grade crossings, a road bridge overhead, a spur on the south side, a free-standing signal plus cantilever signal bridge, crossover, and cantilever signal bridge plus a free-standing signal at East Medill (MP 263.0), where another Burlington line once crossed at grade, a dirt road grade crossing, a section of cuttings and embankments through the trees, a road bridge overhead, a bridge over a stream, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a bridge over a stream, two dirt road grade crossings,  detectors at MP 257.9 and a dirt road grade crossing before the speed limit drops to 50-45 at the Intermediate Signals (signal bridge) at Revere (MP 256.0), for the descent and turn east-southeast, past a road bridge overhead, spurs on both sides, a bridge over a stream, west-facing Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), east-facing Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a dirt road grade crossing, a bridge over a stream, a grade crossing, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), and the deck-girder Des Moines River bridge, where Missouri ends.

Between the eastern edge of Missouri and the Mississippi River, the line passes through a corner of Iowa, turning south-southeast once on the east side of the bridge, and then northeast again, with a grade crossing on the curve, as it climbs out of the river valley and the 90-70 speed limits resume, passing Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), a dirt road grade crossing, two grade crossings in the town of Argyle, a spur on the north side, a grade crossing, a signal bridge, a pair of road bridges overhead (US 61), crossovers, and free-standing signal plus cantilever signal bridge at Argyle (MP 246.2), a bridge over a stream, a dirt road grade crossing, a road bridge overhead, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge) at New Boston, where another Burlington branch once crossed at grade, detectors at MP 241.4, a grade crossing, and Intermediate Signals (signal bridge), with a spur on the south side and a grade crossing at Bricker.

The Burlington line along the west bank of the Mississippi passes beneath (a concrete arch in an embankment), followed by an erstwhile connection from that line, a pair of road bridges overhead (US 136), a spur on the southeast side at Armour Dial (MP 240.7), a through truss bridge over a pond/marsh, Intermediate Signals (signal bridge) at Ajax (MP 239.3), a grade crossing, two extra tracks, Intermediate Signals at MP 238.2, and a spur serving a chemical plant on the southeast side, reducing to a single extra track that trails in at a grade crossing, and turns east-northeast at the cantilever signal bridge plus free-standing signal and  crossovers at West Fort Madison (MP 236.3), past a bridge over an arm of the Mississippi River, a spur on the northwest side, the signal bridge at the other end of the crossovers, a wye connecting to the Burlington line to the north that is also the west end of a 10,490 ft. siding, the Fort Madison yard on the north side, beyond the siding, a road bridge crossing over all these tracks (and the former CB&Q line), a signal bridge, another connector over the to Burlington line to the north, and the BNSF offices and Amtrak depot on the north side of the line at Fort Madison (MP 234.3, elevation 600 ft.), where the parking lot is east of the depot, and there are platforms on the north side and between the tracks. The location was formerly known as Shopton, since the ATSF steam locomotive shops were here, until the station moved here from the center of town.

There is a grade crossing, the north end of the yard, a signal bridge, crossovers at East Fort Madison (MP 234.0), a factory alongside to the north as the line heads east with speed limit 35-25, a signal bridge, the river alongside to the east and the former CB&Q alongside to the west, a signal bridge, a footbridge,  the old ATSF depot on the north side with the former CB&Q depot beyond its line to the north, and former AT&SF 4-8-4 2913 stuffed-and-mounted on the southeast side of the line as it heads northeast with speed now 35-30. There are signals and the line turns east again, and then south-southeast onto the through truss bridge (MP 231.8) with its swing section near the west end, across the Mississippi River, with a speed limit of 30 mph. The bridge has a toll road bridge as the upper deck, above the two tracks, with ramps on the north side of the line at the west end and south side of the line at the east end.

On the east side of the river, in Illinois, the tracks turn east along the east bank of the river at MP 231.2, and the speed limit rises to 45-40, passing a pair of free-standing signals, a crossover with a grade crossing over it, the second crossover, and an east-facing signal bridge at Niota (MP 230.9), where the speed limit rises to 79-55, spurs on the north and south sides, a grade crossing, a road alongside to the south, two ungated grade crossings, a grade crossing, trees along the line, Intermediate Signals (searchlights) at Pontoosuc (MP 228), where the line begins a 0.3% upgrade to MP 203, a bridge over a stream, detectors at MP 226.9, a grade crossing, a riverbank park to the north, a grade crossing, west-facing Intermediate Signals and a spur on the north side at Dallas City, where the line turns east-northeast and a Burlington line once ran along the south side as far as Iowa Junction, four grade crossings, east-facing Intermediate Signals, an acute angle grade crossing, a bridge over a stream, two dirt road grade crossings, trees between the line and the river, and four dirt road grade crossings.

The Mississippi turns away, there is a grade crossing, a cantilever signal bridge plus free-standing signal, a spur to silos on the south side, crossovers, and a free-standing signal plus cantilever signal bridge at Lomax (MP 218.9), where the former Burlington line crossed at grade, and the single-track TP&W line heads away south and downwards at Iowa Junction. In Illinois, the look of the countryside is much the same as in Missouri. The line passes two grade crossings, a bridge over a road, Intermediate Signals, Intermediate Signals at Decorra, a road bridge overhead, a former spur on the north side, two grade crossings, detectors at MP 211.8, Intermediate Signals, a dirt road grade crossing, a highway grade crossing at an acute angle with a former stagecoach hotel in the northeast corner, a spur on the north side, a grade crossing, a cantilever signal bridge, the first crossover at Stronghurst (MP 208.9), a grade crossing, the second crossover, a cantilever signal bridge, a bridge over a stream, two dirt road grade crossings, an embankment, a bridge over a road, Intermediate Signals at Media (MP 204).

At MP 203, the line begins a 0.6% downgrade for a short distance before climbing again, passing a grade crossing, a spur to silos on the north side, a grade crossing, a viaduct over a river, Intermediate Signals, a dirt road grade crossing, a spur to silos on the north side at Smithshire, a grade crossing as the line passes through open prairie and fields, Intermediate Signals, a grade crossing, a bridge over drainage, a grade crossing, a dirt road grade crossing, Intermediate Signals, a grade crossing, an acute angle grade crossing, two more grade crossings, Intermediate Signals at Ponemah (MP 194.2), a bridge over a divided highway (US 67), a location where Burlington line once crossed on the flat, a grade crossing, a signal bridge, crossovers at Ormonde (MP 191.9, elevation 800 ft.)—where a third track was being added on the south side of the line in April, 2006—a signal bridge, a grade crossing, a spur on the south side, a dirt road grade crossing, a bridge over a road, a bridge over a former Chicago & Northwestern line with a connector in the south quadrant, Intermediate Signals at Nemo, a detector at MP 188.3, two grade crossings, Intermediate Signals, a bridge over a road, a spur on the south side, and a through girder bridge over the former Burlington main line on, just west of Cameron.

Since the BNSF merger, a connection has been built between the former Santa Fe and former Burlington tracks, at Cameron (MP 185.0), just west of Galesburg, to facilitate trains from the former ATSF route accessing the yards built by Burlington Northern SW of town. This connection is now used to transfer the Amtrak trains to the former Burlington line into the staffed station in Galesburg (the former ATSF station at Galesburg was not staffed in the Amtrak era), as well as to transfer freight trains between the two routes in various directions. The connection has wyes and crossovers at both ends of its short southeasterly segment, starting with signals on the main line, a crossover, a grade crossing, the west leg of the wye turns away, signals governing exit from the wye, and signals at the apexes of the wyes governing passage onto the connector in both directions.

On Train 3, westbound, darkness falls somewhere around the Mississippi River crossing at Fort Madison, Iowa. For the traveler, this means that the break between the mid-Western farming styles seen in Illinois, Missouri, and eastern Kansas, and the high plains farming styles, takes place overnight. The result is a distinctly visible change between the evening and morning scenery.