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See Black Hills from the oldest continuously operating tourist train

Christian Fernsby ▼ | November 12, 2019
It's an activity like no other in the Black Hills, South Dakota.
1880 train
USA   The two-hour, narrated 20-mile round trip
The two-hour, narrated 20-mile round trip between Keystone and Hill City gives passengers views of the vistas of Black Elk Peak, mining encampments and participate in good old-fashioned fun.

It is an hour ride each way, with a 15-minute turnaround time. The 11:15 am and 5 pm Keystone round trip takes about 45 minutes longer because there is a lunch and dinner break in Hill City.

Trains follow the original route of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad laid down in the late 1880s to service the mines and mills between Hill City and Keystone.

The Black Hills Central Railroad is the oldest continuously operating tour railroad in the nation and operates three steam and two diesel engines throughout the season.

One of their steam engines is close to 100 years old! In 1957, the 1880 Train was started by a man named William Heckman.

He believed "there should be one working steam railroad, for boys of all ages who share America's fondness for the rapidly vanishing steam locomotive." He wanted a railroad that was reminiscent of one from the 1880s.

The name stuck, and the 1880 Train has been chugging through the Black Hills ever since. The 1880 Train is the oldest continuously operating tourist train!

Train tickets may only be picked up the day of the train ride.

The train ride is narrated by a host, and a speaker system allows each car to hear their narration, which includes information about the train, the Black Hills and also points of interest along the route.

A guide book is for sale at either depot as well as onboard the train. This guide book tells the history of the 1880 Train, includes technical information about the equipment and has a section in which you can follow along with the train ride.

When: Every day
Where: 222 Railroad Ave. Hill City, SD