The only active railroad in the Black Hills today is the Black Hills
Central Railroad tourist train, commonly called the 1880 train. The
tracks to between Hill City and Keystone were actually laid early in
the 20th Century, but who's to quibble.
The Black Hills once had hundreds of miles of active railroads. The
line was abandoned in the early 1980s and has since been converted into
one of the longest hiking and general use trails in the Hills: The
S. Mickelson trail.
rail line in the Hills was part
of the Homestake Gold Mine mining operations and used a small
that was hauled to Deadwood in the 1880s in pieces by bull teams. You
see it on display at the Adams Museum in Deadwood. By the way, steam
were never used in the mines. In the early days mules and donkey's
the power, and later air locomotives were used. One of these compressed
air locomotives is on display at the Homestake Mine in Lead.
Homestake railroad carried limestone
and timber and operated mostly in the Deadwood, Nemo area and through
One of the most
famous lines was popularly known
as the Crouch Line and operated between Rapid City and Mystic. The
Trail west from Silver City follows the route of this line. It was also
called the crookedest line in America because of all the twists and
it made wild climbing through steep canyons along Rapid Creek.
train spotters are most likely to
be found around Edgemont, south of the Hills along the route used by
colossal coal trains hauling coal from Wyoming to power plants back
East. One of these mile-long trains passes by Edgemont every hour throughout the day.
Then there's the 1880 Train running
between Keystone and Hill City. During summer this railroad
two old steam locomotives, runs on a regular schedule back and forth
its two terminals. The yard in Hill City also has a large
collection of antique rolling stock in various stages of restoration.
For a discussion of trails along old rail lines see http://www.gorp.com/gorp/resource/us_national_forest/sd/hik_bdee.htm
For more history click HERE.