Facebook Page

Black Hills Central Railroad 9:00 AM Train 8/19/2021

by Chris Guenzler

The two travellers arose at the Pines Country Inn after an excellent night's sleep. After doing our Internet things, we ckecked out and drove the very short distance to Donna's Main Street Diner where I had French Toast and bacon and Elizabeth enjoyed a Denver Omelette. She drove us all to Hill City, where we arrived at 8:40 AM and picked up our tickets, as well as a set of steam engine magnets while I looked around.

Black Hills Central Railroad Preservation history

The Black Hills Central Railroad is a heritage railroad that operates the 1880 Train on the former Keystone Branch of the Burlington Northern Railroad between Hill City, and Keystone, South Dakota. This railroad line was originally built by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad as a mining railroad for gold in the Black Hills. It reached Keystone on January 20, 1900 and was later used to haul equipment for carving nearby Mount Rushmore.

In 1957, William Heckman and Robert Freer started the Black Hills Central Railroad which began operating a tourist passenger excursion train service on this line. In 1972, the Black Hills flood destroyed the last mile of the Burlington Northern/Black Hills Central line in Keystone, which was later restored in 2001.

The Black Hills Central Railroad restores early twentieth century-era locomotives and train cars and has been featured on television shows such as the Gunsmoke episode "Snow Train", "General Hospital", and the TNT mini-series, "Into the West". It also appeared in the movie "Orphan Train".

Trains operate between early May and early October over the scenic 9.5-mile line.

Preserved equipment

The BHCR operates rare, well-preserved, and operational steam locomotives:

Prescott & Northwestern (Caddo & Choctaw) Baldwin 2-6-2 7, built 1919.

Peninsula Terminal Railroad Baldwin 2-6-2T 103, built 1922.

Peninsula Terminal Railroad Baldwin 2-6-2T tank locomotive 104, built 1926.

Potlatch Lumber (Weyerhaeuser) Baldwin 2-6-6-2T 108, built 1926.

Rayonier (Weyerhaeuser) Baldwin 2-6-6-2T 110, built 1928.

The Black Hills Central Railroad also has a diesel locomotive on its engine roster:

EMD GP9 63 formerly Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O).

Whitcomb Locomotive Works 80DE5 6657, built 1943.

Our Visit and Ride


An old friend was on the point of the train, Black Hills Central 2-6-6-4T 110.

Black Hills Central GP-9 63, formerly Chesapeake and Ohio 6178.

Black Hills Central 2-6-2T 104 built in 1926.

Hill City scene.

Black Hills Central coach "Keystone", formerly Oregon Electic and originally Pacific Great Eastern. Now sit back and enjoy a ride on the Black Hills Central. We rode in the open car "Mystic" again. I have been in this car on all four trips on this railroad.

I hope you have the enjoyed the trip to Keystone. Now we will watch the engine run around our train.

Black Hills Central 110 has successfully ran around the train. Now sit back and enjoy the ride back to Hill City.


I hope you enjoyed your trip aboard the Black Hills Central Railroad this morning. Next Elizabeth drove us to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. It was cloudy and I warned the group that we might not see Mount Rushmore. We took our parking ticket and then went to see the great mountain.

The views of Mount Rushmore as the clouds then came over.

For slow walkers this was the view they gad. Elizabeth bought a DVD of National Parks with booklet, coffee mug and magnets. From here we went to Storybook Island for a steam engine.

South Dakota Cement Company 0-4-0T built in 1911 by H.K. Porter and is now called Patsy.

The Porter bulders plate. Next we went to Rapid City.

First the Milwaukee Road Freight House in Rapid City.

The Milwaukee Road passenger station under reconstruction in Rapid City. We went through the drive through at Arby's then Greg took over driving. We went down to Murdo where we stopped at the 1880 Town. We pulled into their parking lot and could not believe what was in front of us here in rural South Dakota.

South Dakota Central FP7A 103C, originally Milwaukee Road 103C.

Santa Fe baggage/Railway Express Agency car 3419 built in 1947.

Santa Fe dining car 1482 built in 1937 by the Budd Company for the Santa Fe Super Chief.

Santa Fe lunch counter-diner 1552 built by tge Budd Company in 1948. These cars were at Bucksport Junction in Tea, South Dakota then went to Prairie Village in Madison in 1979 and were then sold to 1880 Town in 1981.

Rail display.

Plaque in the stone


Milwaukee Road station fromn Lane, South Dakota.

Canadian National speeder 169-58.

Unknown speeder. Elizabeth and I went into the building and a very nice fellow let us in for free to take pictures of the steam engine here.

Museum scene.

The Chicago and North Western Gettysburg station from that town.

Chicago Burlington and Quincy caboose 14424 ne BN 11118.

Chicago, Burlington and Quincy stock car 52144.

Great Western 0-4-0T 7 built in 1921 and was previously in Gering, Nebraska.

The view of this whole train set.

Northern Pacific stock car 83145.

Unknown Northern Pacific stock car 82710.

Northern Pacific stock car 88270.

Another unknown wooden Northern Pacific caboose. Elizabeth and I next went inside the Gettysburg station.

The picture of the C&NW Gettysburg station in its day.

The station office. We returned to the car and drove into Murdo itself.

The Murdo-Mackenzie Milwaukee Road station built in 1907.

The Murdo-Mackenzie Milwaukee Road sign. We then went to find the other depot in this town but needed to get petrol and spotted the station while filling the car.

The public view of the Milwaukee Road Draper station. From here we drove to front of the Pioneer Auto Museum and Elizabeth and I paid a $10 donation to see a depot and caboose.

An unknown caboose.

The Milwaukee Road Draper station from Creston and then Draper built in 1906.

Inside of the Milwaukee Road Draper station.

Barney Fife of the Andy Griffith Show fame was on display. We drove east to Chamberlain where Greg and Marty went to Taco Johns while Elizabeth and I went to Subway for our dinner. We picked them up then headed east to Soiux Falls where we checked into the Ramada Inn for the night.