Buy your tickets now!

Special Event Rates

Mother's Day
Adult: $39.00
Child (3-12): $19.00
2 and under ride FREE, must sit on a lap
Wine on the Rails
Adult: $49
Child (3-12): $29
2 and under ride FREE, must sit on a lap
Wine Express
Adults only: $59.00
Adults only: $59.00
Holiday Express
Adult: $35 , Child (3-12) $16
2 and under ride FREE, must sit on a lap

Holiday Express Spiked!: $49, Adult only

Group Rates

$28.00 round trip, plus tax
$23 one way, plus tax
Children (3-12)
$13.00 round trip, plus tax
$12 one way, plus tax
2 and under ride FREE

2019 Schedule





Shuttle tickets are $6 each and must be purchased over the phone.






#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.


As with any railroad, motive power, schedules and fares are subject to change without prior notice.

  2019 Schedule

#1: Choose Date

2019 Rates
  One Way Round Trip
Adult: $24.00 $29.00
$12.00 $14.00
2 & Under: FREE FREE

#2: Choose Tickets

Tickets are available! ×

Holiday Express – November & December

Holiday Express

Experience the magic as you take a one hour, round trip journey from Hill City to the North Pole where Santa will board the train and ride back to Hill City, taking time to visit with each child on the way. Passengers enjoy hot cocoa, a sugar cookie and a special story on the way to the North Pole. Santa hands out a special gift to each child on the return trip.

New this year! Holiday Express First Class! We are excited to announce this new option for 2019. Holiday Express First Class seating offers an elevated experience in our Hilyo caboose. This option is only available December 21-24.

All Holiday Express tickets will be available for purchase Summer of 2019. Those who have ridden the Holiday Express in the past will receive a special invitation to purchase tickets before anyone else. The Holiday Express departures all sold out in 2018, so we encourage advance reservations!

Enjoy everything received with a regular ride along with spiked hot cocoa in a keepsake mug! Adults only (21+), limited runs.

Download a map of the 1880 Train Station in Hill City



How long is the train ride?

One hour, round trip; ½ hour each way. The Holiday Express travels to the North Pole (Oblivion) and back. It does not travel to Keystone.

Should I purchase tickets in advance?

Tickets sell quickly for all Holiday Express departures, so yes, purchase your tickets now!

Are the train cars heated?

Yes, they are heated, but not to a toasty warm. We encourage dressing in layers. If the temperature is cold outdoors, bring a blanket or two. The boarding area is outdoors, so dress accordingly.

Do you offer group rates?

We do not offer group rates for special events.

Where does the train depart from?

222 Railroad Avenue, Hill City, SD

How can we be sure our group is seated together?

Holiday Express seating is assigned. When purchasing your tickets, purchase all tickets together and select the seats you prefer. Once selected or assigned, seat assignments cannot be changed. The earlier you purchase your tickets, the better the chance you will be seated together. All Holiday Express departures sell out.

How do we get our tickets?

The day of your ride, come to the ticket booth located inside the Hill City Depot, give your last name, and your boarding passes will be printed that day. You do not need to bring your confirmation, just give your last name. Boarding begins 15 minutes prior to departure.

What are the seating arrangements?

Seating is just like bus seating. There is one bench seat on each side of the car that accommodates two passengers with an aisle in the center. All seats are padded. The backs of the seats may be pushed forward or backward to accommodate a party of 4 to face one another. Children 2 and under must be seated on a lap.

Can we wear our pajamas?

Absolutely! You are welcome to wear your pajamas or any festive attire you wish. Just be sure to dress warmly!

What other food and beverage options do you have?

Hot chocolate and sugar cookies are served in route. If you have dietary restrictions, please feel free to bring your own food and beverage on board. Mulled wine, wine by the bottle, beer, hot cider and coffee are available for purchase in the depot as well as snacks that you are welcome to bring on board.

What if the weather is bad?

Please plan for the unexpected, South Dakota winter weather! The 1880 Train is not liable for road closures or delays. This event will run no matter the weather.

What happens at the North Pole?

Once the train arrives at the North Pole, Santa boards the Train and the diesel engine switches from the front to the back of the train. Once the engine is ready to go, the train heads back to Hill City with Santa on board. Passengers are able to see the North Pole buildings from the Train, but passengers do not deboard the train during this time. The stop at the North Pole takes less than 10 minutes.

When can we take pictures with Santa?

Santa visits with each child on the way back to Hill City from the North Pole. There will be time to take your own, free photos with Santa when he visits your train car. Professional photos are available at the South Dakota State Railroad Museum, next to the Hill City Depot, from noon to 4pm each day the Holiday Express departs. There is a charge for these photos.

What is the difference between a regular ride and first class?

Guests who purchase a First Class ticket are seated in the more spacious, Hilyo caboose car. Each first class passenger receives unlimited hot chocolate with special holiday toppings, a keepsake campfire Holiday Express mug, sugar cookie, candy cane, special, first class gift from Santa, a dedicated Santa and Mrs. Claus and special entertainment. Only 38 First Class seats are available on designated departures.

Which dates offer the First Class option?

November 29 & 30, and December 21-24.

Will the after-Christmas rides be the same?

Yes, everything will be the same for the after Christmas rides. Santa & Mrs. Claus have agreed to come back after Christmas in order that they do not miss anyone who is in the area for the holidays. Santa will get a head start on what the children would like for Christmas in 2020!


For more detailed ticket and cancellation policy information, please refer to the information at right (on desktop) or below (on mobile).

Please call our office at 605.574.2222 or email us at with any questions regarding your group!


Photos with Santa

Enjoy a keepsake photo of your Holiday Express experience by getting a professional photo with Santa! Photos are $10 each or 3 for $25 and are taken at the South Dakota State Railroad Museum, right next door to the Hill City Depot. Santa photos will be taken from noon - 4:00 pm each day of the Holiday Express rides.



Holiday Express
$35 Adult, $16 child (3-12)
2 and under ride FREE
Group rates are not available for special event rides.

Holiday Express – Spiked!
$49 Adults only

Holiday Express – First Class
$75 Adult, $56 child (0-12)

Group rates are not available for special event rides. Your credit card is charged at the time of purchase. Please pick up tickets 30 minutes in advance at the Hill City Depot.

Tickets Include

Holiday Express

  • Assigned Seating
  • Train Ride
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Sugar Cookie
  • Candy Cane
  • Small gift for each child
  • Visit with Santa

Holiday Express – Spiked!

  • Train Ride
  • Spiked Hot Chocolate
  • Sugar Cookie
  • Candy Cane
  • Keepsake thermal cup
  • Assigned seating in adult only car
  • Visit with Santa

New! Holiday Express First Class

  • Train Ride
  • Assigned Seating
  • Unlimited Hot Chocolate
  • Keepsake Campfire Mug
  • Sugar Cookie (contains almond extract)
  • Candy Cane
  • Spacious seating with drop down table tops
  • Special, First Class gift from Santa
  • Entertainment available only in the First Class, Hilyo car
  • Dedicated Santa & Mrs. Claus for First Class guests

Available November 29 & 30 and December 21-24 only, with 38 seats available each departure.


Seating is assigned. In order to sit together, all passengers must be under ONE reservation. When making reservations online, you may select your own seats. Please ensure you have the final count of your party when making your reservation and selecting seat assignments. Seating assignments cannot be changed once selected or assigned. Guests who add on to a reservation at a later date are not guaranteed a seat with your party. Children 2 and under must be held on a lap. If you would like them to have their own seat, or would like to bring their car seat, a child’s ticket must be purchased.

Cancellation Policy

Credit card is charged at time of reservation. Like any ticketed event, all sales are final and no refunds or cancellations are offered unless ticketed train does not operate.

Bad Weather: Please prepare for winter road and traffic conditions! The 1880 Train is not liable for road closures or delays. This event will run no matter the weather.



If you need lodging, follow the links below for options available during the Holiday Express:

Double Diamond Cabins
Super 8
Palmer Gulch KOA
Cabins near Hill City
Harney Peak Inn