|Rails & Ales
Adults only: $58.00
Adults only: $58.00
Adults only: $58.00
Value: $32 Adult, $15 child (3-12)
Peak: $35 Adult, $16 child (3-12)
2 and under ride FREE
Holiday Express Spiked!: $45, Adult only
$28.00 round trip, plus tax
$23 one way, plus tax
$13.00 round trip, plus tax
$11 one way, plus tax
2 and under ride FREE
Available after the 5:00 Keystone Departure on the following dates ONLY:
Pick up outside of Hill City Depot at 6:15 pm by Dakota Frontier Tours.
#1: When selecting your depart from/time, this is the station you will leave from. You will arrive at your first destination one hour after the time listed.
#2: When selecting your return from/time, the time listed is the time you leave that station. You will arrive at the final destination one hour after the time listed.
Please note the red colored circles designate the diesel engine in use and the black circles designate the steam engine in use. The Diesel engine is always used for our 7:30 am and 8:45 am departures and is also used when the steam engine undergoes routine maintenance.
As with any railroad, motive power, schedules and fares are subject to change without prior notice.2017 Schedule
It is a two-hour, narrated 20-mile round trip between Hill City and Keystone. Passengers view vistas of Harney Peak, mining encampments and participate in good old-fashioned fun. 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 our 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!
The train goes back and forth between the Hill City station and the Keystone station. You can start your ride from either end.
Our Hill City depot has free parking. In Keystone, a city parking lot is available close by. It has a three-hour limit. The Borglum Story in Keystone also allows visitors to park in their lot all day for a fee of $5. We recommend Keystone passengers park at the Borglum Story.
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.
Train tickets may only be picked up the day of the train ride. Because of our ticketing system, we do not print tickets in advance. Tickets may be picked up as soon as the previous train departs. If you are riding on the first train of the day, in most cases, tickets may be picked up as soon as the Gift Shop opens. We recommend picking up tickets no later than 30 minutes prior to departure and reserve the right to cancel tickets not collected 15 minutes prior to departure. You may only collect tickets from the depot your train is departing from.
The engine schedule is noted on the right hand side of the train schedule page, which shows the dates and times the diesel locomotives are being used while the boiler is washed on the steam engine. As with any railroad, motive power, schedules are subject to change without prior notice. We do our best to notify guests of any engine schedule changes as soon as we are aware.
Regular-priced train rides do not have assigned seats. Certain special event train rides do have assigned seats.
For groups of 20 or more under one reservation, we offer group rates and guarantee you will be seated together. These reservations may be made by calling our office. For groups of 5 or more, seating is first come first served. Reserving a ticket does not guarantee being seated together. Arrive early, have someone in your party save seats, or choose an earlier or later in the day departure to increase the likelihood of being seated together.
Passengers may spend time in the town. However, tickets are time specific, and visitors must check their tickets for details or talk to a ticket agent about their plans.
Our train has both open and enclosed train cars. We run a varying combination of cars, depending on the time of year. Our train cars do not have air conditioning, but the enclosed cars do have windows you are welcome to open or close at your discretion. We recommend that if you dress to be comfortable outside, you will be plenty comfortable onboard the train. If you are not familiar with the climate in the Black Hills, be aware that we have very cool nights, so you may wish to pack a pair of pants, a pair of shoes besides sandals and a sweatshirt or jacket.
Yes! The train is enjoyed by passengers of all ages. There are many sights and sounds for your children to enjoy.
Yes, while the engine is taking on water.
We can store collapsible strollers onboard, or they can be stored in either gift shop. Car seats may be brought onboard the train. If it is a sold-out train ride, passengers will need to hold the car seat or pay for the child riding in the car seat. Normally, children under the age of three ride for free, but when the train is sold out, they need to ride on an adult’s lap or purchase a child’s ticket. Small coolers may be brought onboard the train and kept under the seat.
Yes, we can accommodate up to two wheelchairs per run.
We have some of the steepest grades in the U.S. The track has several sharp curves. It’s hard work for the engine to get up the hills, and we go slowly down the hills and curves to reduce the chance of accidents.
The central Black Hills is abundant with forests, meadows and wooded canyons. Much of the train route follows Battle Creek, home to gold prospectors before and during the turn of the century. The train passes throughout National Forest Service land on its way from station to station, and passengers can also see the remnants of old mines and mining operations. Some of these mining claims have been turned into residential land, and some houses are visible from the train. County Road 323, along with a few private drives, crosses the train tracks several times, giving passengers the opportunity to enjoy the sound of a steam whistle.
Many different kinds of woodland animals call the Black Hills home. Most often, passengers will see white tail deer, mule deer, wild turkey, wood chucks, mallard ducks and cottontail rabbits.
Yes, 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.
Drinks, popcorn and candy bars are available onboard. The High-Liner Snack Shoppe in Hill City sells food such as hot sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, soft pretzels, nachos and ice cream Memorial Day through Labor Day. Passengers may also purchase snacks in both depots.
No. They are only available at the stations.
We only allow certified service animals onboard the train.
No, for our passengers’ safety, we ask that all riders remain in their seats during the train ride. At the opposite station, passengers will have the opportunity to switch to a different seat if they wish.
The steam engines burn recycled motor oil.
Yes, special runs along the High Line to Deadwood were made before the rail line was removed to make Rails to Trails.
A couple times each trip, the fireman throws sand into the firebox. This sand is drawn through the flues to clean them and is exhausted from the stack. Some of this sand may fall on passengers, but it is easily brushed off.
It takes about 200 gallons of oil and 1,000 gallons of water for one round trip with Engine #104. Engine #7 takes almost twice as much fuel, and Engine #110 takes 200 gallons of oil and 2,000 gallons of water.
A standard gauge track has rails that are 4’ 8 ½” apart. On most narrow gauge track, the rails are 3’ apart – although there are other narrow gauges as well.
The train is owned by the Black Hills Central Railroad formed by a small group of stockholders who were interested in preserving steam railroading.