1880 Train: Hill City to Keystone
Written by Marcus Heerdt
August 12, 2019

In the 1870s, gold was discovered in the Black Hills and the construction of railroads quickly followed. The first steam engine arrived at the Homestake Mine in the northern hills community of Lead in 1879. The railroad track which now connects the towns of Hill City and Keystone was completed in 1900, and is now owned by Black Hills Central Railroad which operates the 1880 Train.

The 1880 Train attraction began operation in 1957 and runs on 10 miles of track between Hill City and Keystone. The railroad is the “oldest continuously operating tour railroad in the nation and operates three stream and two diesel engines throughout the season.” William Heckman founded the railroad as he thought “there should be one working steam railroad for boys of all ages who share America’s fondness for the rapidly vanishing steam locomotive.”

The train ride is a scenic journey through the heart of the Black Hills as it follows Battle Creek while it meanders through the mountains and forests of the area.

The 1880 Train operates May – December and more information can be found at https://www.1880train.com or call (605) 574-2222.



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