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Engine of the Black Hills Central Train
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.

Railroad History

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The Black Hills once had hundreds of miles of active railroads. The last 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 George S. Mickelson trail.
 

     The first rail line in the Hills was part of the Homestake Gold Mine mining operations and used a small locomotive that was hauled to Deadwood in the 1880s in pieces by bull teams. You can see it on display at the Adams Museum in Deadwood. By the way, steam locomotives were never used in the mines. In the early days mules and donkey's provided the power, and later air locomotives were used. One of these compressed air locomotives is on display at the Homestake Mine in Lead.
 
Roosevelt Inn of Keystone, South Dakota
     The Homestake railroad carried limestone and timber and operated mostly in the Deadwood, Nemo area and through Stagebarn canyon.
 

     One of the most famous lines was popularly known as the Crouch Line and operated between Rapid City and Mystic. The Deerfield 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 turns it made wild climbing through steep canyons along Rapid Creek.
 

     Modern train spotters are most likely to be found around Edgemont, south of the Hills along the route used by the 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 with two old steam locomotives, runs on a regular schedule back and forth between 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.
 

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