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Special Event Rates

Mother's Day
Adult: $39.00
Child (3-12): $19.00
2 and under ride FREE, must sit on a lap
Rails & Ales
Adults only: $59.00
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!: $45, 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

Shuttle Schedule


Available after the 5:00 Keystone Departure on the following dates ONLY:

July 7-9
July 14-16
July 21-23
July 28-30

Pick up outside of Hill City Depot at 6:15 pm by Dakota Frontier Tours.

  • Cost is $6 per passenger PLUS TAX, no matter the age.
  • Car seats must be provided by guest.
  • Guests may reserve by calling the 1880 Train office at 605-574-2222 or emailing

Holiday Express Schedule




#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.

Holiday Express Schedule

#1: Choose Date

Holiday Express Rates
  Regular Spiked
Adult: $35.00 $45.00
$16.00 n/a
Under 3: FREE n/a

#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.

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

Book your tickets now!

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 are selling quickly for all Holiday Express & Holiday Express Spiked 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.


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
2 and under ride FREE
Group rates are not available for special event rides.

Holiday Express – Spiked!
$45 Adults only

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

This option available on the following trips only:

  • November 23, 24 - 4:15 pm
  • December 1, 8, & 15 - 4:15 pm
  • December 22 – 6:00 pm


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

Book your tickets now!