Black Hills Central Railroad

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Black Hills Central Railroad
BHC RR in 2001.jpg
Baldwin 2-6-2T #104 steaming out of Hill City station in 2001, on the 10-mile (16 km) run to Keystone, South Dakota
Locale Keystone, South Dakota
Commercial operations
Name Keystone Branch of the Burlington Northern Railroad
Built by Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad
Original gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)
Preserved operations
Owned by Black Hills Central Railroad
Operated by Black Hills Central Railroad
Preserved gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)
1957 Reopened

The Black Hills Central Railroad is a heritage railroad that operates in South Dakota, United States.

It currently operates the 1880 Train on the former Keystone Branch of the Burlington Northern Railroad (BN) between Hill City, South Dakota 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.[1]

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.[2] 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.[3]

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 10-mile (16 km) line.

Preserved equipment[edit]

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

  • # 7, Baldwin 2-6-2, built 1919
  • #103, Baldwin 2-6-2T, built 1922
  • #104, Baldwin 2-6-2T tank locomotive (pictured), built 1926
  • #110, Baldwin 2-6-6-2T, built 1928

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


  1. ^ Hayes, Robert E. "A Thumbnail History of Keystone". Keystone Area Historical Society. Retrieved 2007-05-22. 
  2. ^ Floyd, Dustin D. (2006). "Preserving the Rails". Deadwood Magazine. Retrieved August 1, 2015. 
  3. ^ Mills, Rick W. "A Time Line of Black Hills Railroads". Black Hills Visitor Magazine. Retrieved 2008-09-16. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°55′56″N 103°34′24″W / 43.93222°N 103.57333°W / 43.93222; -103.57333